Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love, and Fiberglass

Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love, and Fiberglass

by Melanie Neale


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Literary Nonfiction. Women's Studies. BOAT GIRL is the heartbreaking memoir of growing up aboard a sailboat. Throughout the 1980's and 90's, Melanie's family lived aboard a 47-foot sailboat, spending their summers along the US East Coast and their winters in the Bahamas. But the cruising life was not all fun in the sun. The family had to work hard to pay for their way of life. They dodged hurricanes, overzealous federal agents and bullying land-kids. And they endured a boatload of family drama. As her father published articles about how living on a boat brings families together, Melanie secretly struggled with an eating disorder, the alienation of being a boat kid, and confusion over her developing sexuality. As an adult, she lived aboard her own 28-foot sailboat and had several relationships trying to find someone who wasn't intimidated by her stubborn independence and free-spirited lifestyle. BOAT GIRL weaves all this together into a story about a girl who, once all is said and done, simply wants her own boat and her own life. Melanie paints a vivid picture of the trials and tribulations of family life aboard a sailboat without drowning the reader in the technical details of sailing. BOAT GIRL strikes a perfect balance between a coming of age story and a sea tale, enjoyable for boaters and land-lovers alike.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780983825227
Publisher: Beating Windward Press
Publication date: 10/01/2012
Pages: 246
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.52(d)

About the Author

Melanie Neale grew up aboard a 47-foot sailboat, exploring the US East Coast and Bahamas. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Eckerd College in 2002 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Florida International University in 2006. She has taught college, detailed boats, captained and crewed on boats, coordinated marketing events, and scooped minnows in a bait shop. Melanie currently works as the Director of Career Services for a private art college in northern Florida, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

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Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love, and Fiberglass 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Despite the colorful cover "Boat Girl" touches on some very adult subject matter. It's not exactly gritty, but a very realistic view of life and sailing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful story for anyone that would like to know about what it's like to live aboard a sailboat, or for anyone thinking about cruising with children. It's a magical way to live and Melanie is so descriptive in her book that you will feel like you are there on the white sandy beaches.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book to read and learn about a different way of life - growing up on a boat ! The author was very open and honest about her life and the challenges and experiences that made her who she is today. I would recommend it highly. Looking forward to future books!!!
Ginya More than 1 year ago
While I am not a boat person I grew up in Florida and this book makes me see the ocean and smell the salt air. One reviewer said it felt like a group of short stories but to me this approach added to the book. As you grow up you change and life feels like a succession of short stories. Everyone should have their stories for it makes life richer. Boat Girl is a great story of living on boats but it is also a great story of a child growing to a woman. I have not enjoyed a boat book as much since reading Robb White's books. Neale has the same laid back feel to her writing...I loved it.
TravM More than 1 year ago
Melanie Neale's Boat Girl is truly a hidden gem among the sea of memoirs today that have drowned readers with forced perspectives and sullen tales of self-pity which dwell on life's defeats and manufactured redemptions. In stark contrast to this methodology, Neale's brilliant storytelling is done without an overbearing need to explain the emotional significance of every isolated scene; yet emotion is palpable throughout this book. Neale offers us an opportunity to experience life aboard her family's sailboat through our own eyes as she navigates the rigors of growing up in both the remoteness of coral outcroppings and crystalline waters in the Bahamas and the structured social settings of those who are caged on terra firma. From birth to womanhood, we follow her with awe, sympathy and enlightenment as she discovers the fight within her to live her own life, in her own way and on her own boat. At its essence, Boat Girl is an unconventional coming-of-age story told against the back drop of an escapist's dream. At its grandeur, it is an inspirational lesson to us all of how love and steadfast determination can help us transcend life's obstacles to realize our destiny.
FLHokie More than 1 year ago
Boat Girl ranks up there with the best of the contemporary memoirs--it's not just a book for people who are into sailing or for "girls" or women. There is something in it for everyone. The author speaks of the challenges of growing up in a non-traditional setting with both brutal honesty and love. It is truly an inspiring story and a must-read for all!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Melanie takes you on several journeys at once: through the magical water world of flickering sunlight and shadows, stopping off to explore sun-drenched , sandy beaches or hunkering down for violent weather:  through the sounds, smells and toil of maintaining and provisioning a boat-home;  from the innocence of childhood to the wisdom and occasional recklessness of adulthood; through the emotional minefield of becoming independent  while longing to please a demanding, judgmental, loving and beloved parent; from an idyllic  and sometimes precarious lifestyle among the elements to the buttoned-down roles of wife, parent, employee and homeowner. This memoir makes you feel like you've been along for the ride.  Well-written, evocative imagery brings every scene to life.  An easy read that leaves a long-lasting impression.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago