Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love & Fiberglass

I received this book from Beating Windward Press in exchange for an honest review, and here it is!
boatg
Published October 1st 2012 by Beating Windward Press LLC

MY REVIEW:
Melanie Neale’s memoir evokes a scenic memory of the Bahamas and Florida – an elusive beginning to a heartbreaking story of growing-up and falling apart in more ways than one.

Each memory from her growing up years are detailed with the dates and year, giving us a complete picture of family whose lives revolved around living in a confined 47-foot sailboat cruising between the US East Coast and the Bahamas. The rocky lifestyle shapes the person Melanie gradually became. Her way of thinking, behaving and even eating.

“Part of it was a feminist streak and the other part of it was the ultimate in antifeminism: a deeply rooted need in me to be accepted by my dad and by other men. If I could do the same things as them, I would be accepted into their world.”

The author is a tough cookie who believes that women can rise in a man’s world despite the obstacles in her path. Acceptance became a huge part of her psyche and drives her will to make it out there on her own – Melanie’s own boat and Melanie’s rules.

This is definitely an unusual contemporary memoir that shifts between telling the full story of what actually happened, to what the current Melanie Neale hopes could have happened – a brilliant psychological mapping of a girl who simply wants her own life…with or without the boat. Has the boat become part of her life or has she been simply dictated by it? Definitely insightful if you wish to understand a nomadic life on the rocky seas!

SYNOPSIS
“Boat Girl” is the heart-breaking 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.

Once in a while I think about the planet

The person I am in 2013 pretty much agrees with the person I was in 2011,
albeit less naive, less afraid to speak the hell up.

‘Tis been an eventful week, too much to express in a short post >< And not worth remembering. Impressions of person(s) utterly destroyed hence the reluctance to see it typed out in black and white. Writing/typing is a form of mental rehearsal in which one’s emotional memory consolidates…(Psychology PL3249 module). It’s so tiring to bear grudges. Except deep down, I’m sure things can never be the same no matter how the person tries to make up. Wonder if it’s a Scorpio thing to forgive but not forget.

Enjoying a very cathartic read of my past, which feels like a thousand centuries ago…
certain posts make my toes curl and brings back totally uncalled-for reminiscences.

This is why I love writing.
Even as you’re looking at yourself in words, you’re never the same person.

the best memories

The best memories remain when the worst are forgotten.
None is as great a peacemaker as time,
that simmers sharp pangs to a dull ache of the heart
and wipes all slates clean when the pain comes to pass.

The best memories upholds the smile when the tears are gone.
A gunshot with its reverberations
inadvertently ends with drawn-out silence.
Nothing that lasts an eternity is worth fighting for.

I am
Sincerely wishing everything that’s only the best
for the people who have made the biggest impact on my life
without having to remain in it forever.
The best memories are the candles that once lit up the darkest rooms in your heart.

xoxo
Viktoria Jean

pola

PS. Brief trip down the memory lane,
I found myself smiling.

plugged into my iPod under my umbrella in the rain

Nobody knows we were meant to arrive in somebody else’s life
for reasons so obscure we speculate,
and plunge into the same mistakes,
putting a name, a cause, a title, a status allowing them to stay.
I’m listening
to your favourite overrated songs;
button sunken from the days you’d hit replay.

Plugged into my iPod under my umbrella in the rain,
I’m mistaken for a trespasser –
“ma’am I’m sorry to say
we’re closed for the day”.
Apologies to the most important people
are hardest to articulate.

We overlook –
Miscommunication, misunderstanding,
misinterpretation, mistakes
mis-en-scene
mishaps.
Drafted apologies.
I have my music,
I am okay.

Micro-managed music libraries, neatly filed, documented, genred,
starred biases;
playlists with names we (only) appreciate.

Useless music loops through my headphones,
caught in spirals
unable to escape,
muffled by the downpour
outside my

Splintered spokes of useless shelter
then carelessly discarded by the sidewalk
as I watched you
Ice-cold raindrops.
Your halo bruised from standing too long in the rain.

Can’t I simply like your smile,
the way you toss your head as you turn to walk away.

XOXO
silhouettekiss

umbrella

P.S. It is so cold in Tokyo my lips are blue
Why on earth didn’t I bring an extra coat…

had my heart aglow

repetal

Memories aren’t created to be tossed aside or fed to the wind.
Most unfortunately whoever created Man didn’t engineer our brains to work as per a shredder does –
feed it in, tear it apart,
then proceed to expel the remnants.

Letting go takes tremendous practice –
a dab of ignorance, a handful of shrugs,
closed eyes, uncountable sighs
and a whole lot of pretense.
Until it doesn’t hurt to think of it anymore.

Till then, perhaps I’ll simply look away.

xoxo
silhouettekiss
 

HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR, lovelies.

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