Stern Men

A Novel
Narrated by: Allyson Ryan
Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
3.5 out of 5 stars (93 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Off the coast of Maine, Ruth Thomas is born into a feud fought for generations by two groups of local lobstermen over fishing rights for the waters that lie between their respective islands. At 18, she has returned from boarding school - smart as a whip, feisty, and irredeemably unromantic - determined to throw over her education and join the "stern men" working the lobster boats.

Gilbert utterly captures the American spirit through an unforgettable heroine who is destined for greatness - and love - despite herself.

©2009 Elizabeth Gilbert (P)2009 Penguin

Critic Reviews

The beauty of Gilbert's book is that she gives us an isolated rural culture, and refuses to settle for finding humor in its backwardness. Instead she gives us a community of uneducated but razor-sharp wits, and produces an impressive comic debut. (Amazon.com review)
"Gilbert's comic timing grows sharper in the second half, and her gift for lively, authentic dialogue and atmospheric settings continually lights up this entertaining, and surprisingly thought-provoking, romp." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Thumbs Down!

Having spent summers since my birth on a small Maine coast island similar to Fort Niles, I am very familiar with the lobster wars, and eagerly anticipated listening to this book. But what I found was a monotonous chronology of events which left me completely unengaged. What little personal conversation occurred between the characters often involved a prolonged litany of expletives, as if the author could not think of anything else for them to say. Although the author repeatedly made a point of the very distinct Maine accent, the narrator just didn't capture it. She sounded as much like a Brooklynite as a Maine fisherman. I would think that for an audiobook that emphasizes a local accent it would be important to find a narrator who is able to employ that accent in her reading. While there were a few interesting points in the book, overall it was a huge disappointment.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

It was a little slow going in the beginning as she was introducing all the characters but I ended up loving this book. Once I saw how it all came together I wanted to start at the beginnning and listen again.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Elizabeth Gilbert did it again!

The ending had a nice twist, never saw it coming!

Just a side note- some people may not like the amount of curse words.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Very good Pictorial

Also a good story. My only reservation is that it ends rather abruptly.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Rambling and irrelevant

This book goes off into rambling and uninteresting histories of two islands off the coast of Maine. Intermittently the family history of the protaganist is told in long, boring detail. Initially you want to know what is going to happen to Ruth Thomas, an educated girl living among ignorant people stuck in the past, but the story goes on too long without engaging the reader. I would not recommend wasting the credits/money.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Just Plain Not a Maine Accent

The story is engaging enough, but the narration is weak. The voice is okay, but when the narrator tries to replicate the Maine accent, the result is very disappointing. Brooklyn/Boston maybe? Not close to Maine. If she auditioned, she did not audition in front of a Mainer. I don't doubt her ability to tell other stories...just not this one.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Could not stay awake

Slow. Way too slow . . .
There us nothing for me too say about this book. It is boring.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Really sensational

I don't know how she does it- but Elizabeth Gilbert has once again written the most enthralling of original stories. This was absolutely wonderful. The history, the characters / everything. One of my favorites that will without a doubt, linger.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

No stars actually........

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Not sure, the review sounded promising but the writing was not what I thought it might be. The characters were not developed, I disliked the lead character Ruth. Some of characters were vulgar .

Has Stern Men turned you off from other books in this genre?

If I was was not leading our book group this time, I would not have bothered to finish it. However the epilogue was the best part... the book was almost finished and Ruth finally showed some heart.!

What didn’t you like about Allyson Ryan’s performance?

Actually she had more of a NY accent than a Maine accent, for a New Englander this was disappointing.

Any additional comments?

not recommended.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I continue to reread....

Any additional comments?

I read this book years ago and I have read it at least 2 other times because it a fun, interesting summer read. I decided to pick up the audio version and enjoyed it that way as well. It took me a bit to get passed the narrator's accents but I got used to it.

1 person found this helpful