Saturday, June 7, 2008

Weekend Book Review - Time Bandit

I just finished reading Time Bandit. I wish I had spent my time better. The book was written by Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand, with William MacPherson. The brothers Hillstrand are among the boat captains that star in the Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch. They are Alaskan king crab fisherman.

When I first got the book title, my first thought was about the movie Time Bandits. That movie is one of my favorites. The name of the book is the name of the authors' boat: Time Bandit. The authors' father named the boat after the movie.

The story opens with Johnathan out fishing on another of his smaller boats. The engine dies and the battery dies, leaving him stranded on the Bering Sea with no way to call for help. The book then jumps back and forth from the stranded boat to past stories of the adventures and misadventures of the brothers. The obvious comparison is to Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm. I am not sure whether it is a fair comparison or not. Regardless, as I was reading the book I kept thinking about The Perfect Storm.

I have not watched the Deadliest Catch, so I was not familiar with king crab fishing or the brothers Hillstrand. Perhaps I would have enjoyed the book more if I had watched some of the show first. But I didn't. After reading the book, I am not any more inclined to watch the show.

Johnathan comes across as cliche. He drinks hard, works hard and lives hard. Johnathan portrays himself as indestructible. So it is no surprise that at the end of the book he is rescued just in the nick of time. I thought his brother Andy sounded more interesting as he tries to balance his time fishing in Alaska with his horse farm in Indiana.

You can better spend your time re-reading The Perfect Storm or Linda Greenlaw's The Hungry Ocean.

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