Saving a life

Lifesaving Lessons: Notes from an Accidental Mother by Linda Greenlaw is a riveting, offbeat tale of redemption. Bestselling author and swordfish captain Linda Greenlaw tells the story of how she became the adopted mother of a sexually abused teenage girl.
 
Linda lives on the small Maine island of Isle Au Haut, where she spends her time fishing, lobstering, and writing. She is single and forty when she meets a sullen and depressed teenaged girl. Mariah has come to the island with her uncle, a reformed drunk. He says he is her guardian and has taken her away from a troubled home in Tennessee. Mariah is quickly “adopted “by the island’s closely knit community of women, who consider motherless. Mariah becomes very close to an older couple who are close friends of Linda’s.
 
Mariah works the summer for Linda on her boat. Linda notices she is very bright and helps Mariah to get a scholarship to a good boarding school off-island.
 
The tale then meanders as Linda fill us in on life on the isolated island in winter. Greenlaw describes at length her new fishing ventures, mid-life crisis, writer's block, and her relationships with various family members and friends. She also paints a clear picture of a slightly-eccentric but caring community of islanders.
 
A year or two goes by and Mariah begins having problems at school. The holidays bring a crisis as a hysterical Mariah arrives at the door of Linda’s friends in the middle of the night. A visit to a social worker the next day brings out a disturbing tale of sexual abuse.
 
The rest of the book details the heartwarming, painful, and often maddening process of the two women becoming a family.
 
Greenlaw writes with disarming modesty and sensitivity in telling this personal and very moving story.
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