Thursday, April 5, 2012

Paradise, not what it is cracked up to be...

This is the other novel that dogged me through the month of March. I did finish it on Tuesday, however, it has taken me this long to commit something to blog. This month, my bookclub went out on a limb to try something completely different, and this non-fiction book is what we came up with. Great title, and a very interesting look at what life is like in the South Pacific (not what I imagined, fancy that). although the write up claimed that this book was "rip-roaringly funny" which I would argue with to that degree of hilarity, it was amusing, and I did laugh out loud at times, even while I cringed at some of Maarten and Sylvia's adventures.

While on the topic of the tropics, I have to give a big shout out to my friend Naomi and her partner John, traipsing through the South Pacific,cruising away through these tropical climes. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading their adventures, and this book was a good complement the pictures and stories as they have made their way along through this region. Knowing folks traveling through Tarawa and Kiribati, and seeing their pictures really brought this book to life for me.

Definitely insightful, and although the Macarena and Ice Ice Baby are not personal faves, I will look at songs like this differently out of sheer sympathy for the novelist being subjected to this kind of music, over and over again in paradise. It took me a while to really get in to this book, but by the end, I was thoroughly enjoying their adventures and will more than likely read his follow up novels. Life on an atoll is not what I expected, although truly, I am not sure what I expected. Perhaps not the quite subsistence existence of the people, and how they deal with day to day living. This novel makes you question how aid is provided, and how should funding be delivered to nations that need help - the true distance between bureaucrats and people on the ground, doing the grassroots assistance rather than writing and executing policies that won't work.

This novel makes me appreciate human ingenuity, and makes me think that many North Americans are losing this quality with their dependence on ready made goods and disposable technology. There are a few lessons to be learned (gently) though this book in between the laughs. It makes me grateful C is almost out of diapers, and why oh why would we send diapers to an atoll where they can't be disposed of? I look around a little more appreciatively of the comforts we have, my house with all of its things, and the richness of our land. I am also glad I am resourceful, and can make do, and make things... and I want to learn to stand up paddle board, and try surfing again, and go back to an island in the pacific with the sun in my face again. One day (and fingers crossed this time we all be in better health).

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