Tuesday, June 24, 2008

35. Time Bandit

by Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand, with Malcolm MacPherson

Subtitled Two Brothers, the Bering Sea, and One of the World's Deadliest Jobs, this book is about brothers Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand, who captain the Alaskan fishing boat "Time Bandit" featured in the Discovery Channel series The Deadliest Catch. I watched a few episodes of this show before reading the book to get a feel for what it's like.

I think the book was written to take advantage of the show's popularity. The stories Andy and Johnathan tell about their modern-day adventures are realistic, interesting and exciting. I learned a lot about Alaskan fishing (perhaps more than I wanted to know; the section on federal regulations was a rather tedious but important part of the story).

However, the book itself is very poorly written. I received an advance copy from Ballantine Books/Random House through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, but the book did not arrive until well after the April 8 publication date. I have not seen a copy of the book as published, so perhaps some of the problems I've noted were addressed in the final book.

The narrative is told from the first-person viewpoints of both Andy and Johnathan. Trouble is, the book does not indicate who is narrating each passage - you have to figure it out (if you can) from the context.

The book also jumps around in time. The book is loosely held together with a "real-time" predicament of Johnathan's (he's adrift alone in a small fishing boat with no radio), but that is interspersed with stories from the past, and at times it can be difficult to tell them apart.

Despite the presence of a co-writer (MacPherson has written more than a dozen books and was a former correspondent for Time and Newsweek), paragraphs are often long and jump from topic to topic. The book would have benefited from more editing.

I think I was probably chosen by Early Reviewers to receive this book because I had read and reviewed The Ship and The Storm in my LibraryThing account. Breathless read both these books as well, and he really enjoyed Time Bandit.

No comments:

Post a Comment