OK, I have to admit, I picked up this book solely because of the title. I’m glad I did, though, because it turned out to be awesome.
The title refers to stories that Hank Bollings tells to his young son, Timmy, stories he made up about Captain Flint, the villain of Treasure Island, before he became a pirate, overcome by greed and depravity. These stories are a metaphor for the overall plot of the book.
In the small crab-fishing town of Loyalty Island, Washington, the men go to the Bering Sea for half the year, while the women and children try to live complete lives. When the men are away at sea, they long for home and when the men are home for the summer, they long for the sea.
When the owner of the town’s fleet abruptly dies, leaving the entire town’s livelihood, and its very existence, in the hands of his estranged son, things begin to come undone in Loyalty Island.
When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man is an extremely dark coming-of-age tale, as Timmy faces a terrible dilemma when the good people of Loyaty Island are driven to make an awful choice. Who can draw the line between right and wrong?
This book is an extremely impressive debut from a fellow Michigander.