Boat Kid: How I Survived
Boat Kid is the Middle Grades version (ages 9-15) of Melanie’s Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love & Fiberglass. This version is suitable for a younger audience. It leaves out Melanie’s graduate school years from ages 22 to 25, but contains previously unpublished material about her adolescence, including an entire new chapter.
Boat Kid is the engaging memoir of what it’s like to grow up aboard a sailboat. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, Melanie’s family lived aboard a 47-foot sailboat, spending their summers along the US East Coast and their winters in the Bahamas. Melanie and her sister were homeschooled, the family fished for dinner and made their own bread, but her parents were far from hippie dropouts. Despite their unique lifestyle, her parents were determined to raise proper young ladies while surrounded by sea-gypsies, mystics, nudists, boat bums, sharks, and smugglers.
And 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, federal agents, and bullying land kids. And 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 her developing sexuality. Boat Kid weaves all this together into a story about a girl who, once all is said and done, simply wants her own boat and the freedom to live her own life.
Melanie paints a vivid picture of family life aboard a sailboat without drowning the reader in the technical details of sailing. Boat Kid strikes a perfect balance between coming-of-age story and sea tale enjoyable for boaters and land-lovers alike.
“Captures the wonders and the paradoxes of growing up just offshore from American culture in a way that I haven’t ever seen in a lifetime of reading about such things.”
– Tim Murphy, Editor-at-Large, Cruising World,
Coauthor, Fundamentals of Marine Service Technology
“An inspiring and beautifully written true story of a young woman schooled in the sea.”
– Dan Wakefield, author of New York in the Fifties
“As a child raised aboard—and as a father who raised a child aboard—I am deeply interested in boat kids. Melanie is among our best. She is not only wonderfully wacky, she tells the truth in large and small ways. I admire her—as a writer and human being. This is a delightful book… that only a boat kid could write!”
– Capt Fatty Goodlander, author of Chasing the Horizon & Red Sea Run