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
here to contact Agent Stephany Evans about this project.
to Current Project Page