Friday, February 5, 2010

On The Crab!


Time Bandit: Two Brothers, The Bering Sea, and the World’s Deadliest Job by Jonathan & Andy Hillstrand

I LOVE the TV show Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel.  I have no idea why I love it so much, but I do.  All they do is catch crab.  They launch pots.  They haul pots.  They measure crabs.  They get hurt.  The deal with weather that would send even the hardiest running for cover.   And every season, every episode it’s exactly the same. 

I think part of the appeal is the adventure, the danger, the romance of the sea.  I also really like the captains – they are these rough and tumble, abrasive, harsh guys who are not afraid of anything.  Yet under that tough exterior, they are good guys, on the show you can see that.  Another part of the appeal is the sheer reality of it.  They don’t stage things, it’s never gotten “Hollywooded” up like other reality TV shows.   I do not enjoy fishing, never will.  I have no desire to ever go out on a crab boat in summer let alone January!  But when the new season comes on, you can believe that I won’t miss an episode. 

I wasn’t sure about this book.  I have learned that actors/TV stars aren’t always the best writers.   That’s not a bad thing, it’s just what is.  They do a great job acting, but writing maybe not so much.   I also though the book would be an ad for the show.  Despite my low expectations, I knew this was a book I had to read.  It’s February and the new season doesn’t start till April and I have seen all the re-runs multiple times.  I needed my “fix”. 

This book surprised me on many fronts.  First of all, I thought it was very well written.  Going back and forth between a real life predicament and flashbacks kept it exciting and interesting.  It also gave a great format for allowing both brothers to contribute seamlessly and tell their stories.

The book did not mention the show until the epilogue!  It started out with Andy and Jonathan’s childhood and how they raised hell on the Homer Spit and laid the foundation for the strong relationship they have now.  It moved on to telling about their family, and their life outside of crab fishing.  They did relate many stories that had appeared on the show, but it was great to see the missing pieces and back story that didn’t  make it to the show. 

The book definitely confirmed my feeling that these rough and tough fishermen are really great people working hard to make a living.  When you see the abrasiveness on the show, you might think them mean, but their anger is usually very justified! 

I totally enjoyed getting to know the Hillstrand Brothers better and can’t wait to see them in action on the upcoming season!  I think  The Time Bandit is now tied with Sig Hansen and the guys on The Northwestern as my favorite crab boat!

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