A high school dropout at age 16, Carolyn Chute has been described as a shy, genial woman with idiosyncratic political views. Almost immediately after dropping out of school, Chute married and had a daughter. After the marriage ended in divorce, Chute held a variety of low-paying jobs, including driving a school bus, working on a potato farm, and plucking chickens to support herself and her child. In 1978, Chute completed high school and began taking classes at the University of Maine. While attending college, Chute started writing stories, and eventually had her work published in area magazines. Chute's first novel, The Beans of Egypt, Maine, published in 1986, details what it was like growing up in a poverty-stricken town. The characters and setting of her successful first novel were continued in Letourneau's Used Auto Parts (1988) and Merry Men (1994). A member of the 2nd Maine Militia, Chute is lobbying for several causes. Among the causes are limiting campaign contributions to $100 per citizen, extending the right of free speech and assembly to work-sites and shopping malls, banning lobbyists from the political process, and limiting the number of newspapers or magazines that can be owned by any single corporation to one.