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The Truth About Boats:
Memoir of a Marriage

By Tora Johnson

The Truth About Boats: Memoir of a Marriage is an artistic, incisive, and personal account of Tora Johnson’s relationship with her husband and several of the vessels they worked and lived aboard over a dozen years. The tale is woven with images and vignettes which relate the multi-faceted "truth" about boats, showing them as a reflection of, and a vessel for, human relationships. The Truth About Boats is a raw first-hand account that turns the traditional maritime memoir on its head. It is told with brutal honesty by a woman with the eye of an insider and perspective gained by long experience.

Chris Mullen, Johnson’s husband, is a commercial fisherman and a highly skilled builder of traditional wooden boats. The author herself is a marine biologist, a licensed captain, and a former commercial fisherman. Her memoir chronicles the couple’s struggle to rescue their home, a decrepit lobster boat, from an uninhabited Maine island where the vessel was beached in the Halloween Gale of 1991. The couple works together commercial fishing for salmon in Southeast Alaska, facing dangerous conditions, grueling work, a hateful captain, and pitiful pay. The author serves aboard large historic sailing ships, including the Hudson River sloop Clearwater and the schooner Ernestina. When her marriage is near the breaking point, Johnson finds the process of rebuilding an old wooden sailboat parallels her struggle for strength and identity in the face of illness, motherhood, and aging. In the end, Johnson and her husband build a traditional sailing rig for their own boat and set out on a perilous winter voyage.
The Truth About Boats is a universal story of subtle and hard-won triumph, at once allowing an honest look at boats and the maritime life for the curious, while telling a tale which has meaning and parallels in every life.

Click here to contact Agent Stephany Evans about this project.

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