The Whaler’s Daughter
Regal House Publishing (2021)
Reviewed by Haley Kilgour for Reader Views (09/2021)
So, “The Whaler’s Daughter” by Jerry Mikorenda is definitely a character driven story over a plot-based story, which I wasn’t expecting when I picked up the book. But this fact is what made the story truly hit home in the end. Savannah’s growth as a character is astounding, and I actually liked who she became because at the beginning I just wanted to throttle her. And while still a child at the end, she’s no longer a brat, throwing a tantrum to get what she wants.
While the story itself is interesting at times, what I think truly makes this book a good one is the ecological lessons imbedded within it. As a marine biologist, I was surprised that the characters had this “Law of the Bay” where you only take what you need. And to watch the conflict between this idea and those that wanted to industrialize, reminded me of what many marine biologists, ecologists, and environmentalists are still fighting for today. And that conservation can win, it might be small and localized, but a difference can be made.
I will say that the conjecture of what killed Savannah’s brothers still confuses me. I’m not sure exactly how that could be proved or what really even made Savannah reach that conclusion. I was also a bit confused about the German sub. I wasn’t sure what the point of that in the story was aside to tie into the “epilogue”. I was also surprised that a book focusing on whalers had so little whaling involved.
I’m not entirely sure if this book was meant to be a children’s book, a middle grade read, young adult, or just for anyone who can read. With the main character being twelve, I’m inclined to say the younger age groups, but with the style of writing, I’m inclined to say young adult and higher. Take that as you will, I still believe this book can be enjoyed by any age.
Having done a study abroad in Australia, I did enjoy seeing the local lingo used in the book. If not for that, the story would have felt like it was taking place elsewhere in my opinion. It was also good of the author to include a glossary of terms in the back for those unfamiliar with Australian idiosyncrasies.
Overall, as a marine biologist, I took a lot away from this book and think it has a message that will strike home for anyone willing to open their hearts to the world and wildlife around them.