Islanders: Real Life on the Maine Islands
By Virginia L. Thorndike
(Down East Books, 336 pages)
Published in 2005, Virginia Thorndike's Islanders is a comprehensive examination of daily life on Maine islands that deals with such topics as island schools, island infrastructure, and most any other facet of island life you can imagine. If you're wondering it, Thorndike's probably answered it. Unfortunately, Thorndike's attention to detail is so minute and her observations are so thorough that the only real audience for this book are prospective island dwellers and island index-scanners who scour the back of the book to see what is written about themselves, their friends, and the rock they live on. In other words, the unattached reader in suburban Westbrook will find this to be a yawner.
Which is too bad because it is a very valuable book. It sucks the romance out of island living (I mean that in a good way) and it will endure as a wonderful resource for how life on Maine's islands was lived in the late twentieth century and the early twenty-first century.
- John C.L. Morgan