Sailor Girl

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The Porcupine's Quill, 2008 - Fiction - 288 pages

Sailor Girl is both coming-of-age tale and love poem to the natural world. Set on the cargo boats of Canada’s Great Lakes in the summer of 1981, it follows the literal and figurative journey of Kate McLeod, a rebellious photography student looking to earn money for school. Using tight, salty dialogue and gripping description, the book renders a sharp-edged portrait of life literally lived on the edges of society.

It is also a love story, in which a middle-class girl finds a deep connection with the unruly young men and toughminded women of the lakes. Life on the water is both brutally physical and socially restrictive, and Kate kicks against the rules, both written and unwritten. A female riff on such classics as Two Years Before the Mast and Malcolm Lowry’s Ultramarine, Sailor Girl is also a uniquely Canadian story, one that distills a vanishing part of our heritage.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lahochstetler - LibraryThing

This book tells the story of a confused college student who spends her summer working on freight liners on the Great Lakes. Kate, our protagonist, has gone to the boats to earn money, but she's also ... Read full review

A provocative debut: a girl, great lakes & desire

User Review  - Arloashean - Borders

Sailor Girl is Sheree-Lee Olson's debut novel about a young woman's odyssey aboard Great Lakes freighters in the early 1980s. Kate McLeod navigates the waterbound world of men, nautical tradition ... Read full review

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Section 1
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Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12

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About the author (2008)

Sheree-Lee Olson was born in Picton, Ontario, a town on the shores of Lake Ontario. She has three university degrees, in fine arts, philosophy and journalism, financed largely by working on Great Lakes freighters. In 1985, she joined The Globe and Mail as an editor, and in 2007-08 she was a Canadian Journalism Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto.

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