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SHUCKED by Erin Byers Murray

SHUCKED

Life on a New England Oyster Farm

By Erin Byers Murray

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-68191-3
Publisher: St. Martin's

The toils and pleasures of oystering.

Like many of her predecessors in the food-based memoir genre, Murray begins in formulaic fashion. An avowed food-lover, the author grew dissatisfied with her life as an editor for a popular Boston lifestyle magazine. She felt lost and craved a fuller connection to the things she loves. When she met one of the directors of Island Creek Oysters, she discovered an opportunity to commit to something more substantial and convinced the company to hire her as an oyster farmer for one year. Knowing nothing about oystering, Murray was schooled early and often—and her prose, frequently humorous and nicely descriptive, does a good job of getting at the grueling experience of this particular niche food industry. Unfortunately, as with so many of the authors within this genre, Murray cannot escape the indictment of privileged self-involvement. When her one-year tenure was over, the author returned to her cushy life, wiser for her blue-collar experience but oblivious to the inevitable differences—despite her avowed solidarity—that will always separate her voluntary incursion from the toil of those who must oyster for their livelihood.

An average foodie memoir.