Sometimes what seems to be Paradise is actually the opposite. I picked this book up for two reasons. First, it had the word “coconut” in the title – which helped to meet a book I needed for the Geocache Challenge I’m working on. Second, most books with “coconut” in the title were either mysteries or chick-lit, and I’m not a fan of either. I assumed this was a travel memoir of Ms. Gardner’s time in the Dominican Republic.
Well, I was in for a shocker. It was a memoir, and it did include the author’s experiences when they moved to the Caribbean island, but it was not pleasant. She was a young girl when her father quit his engineering job and decided buy a few hundred acres in the Dominican Republic and go into coconut farming. Maybe this wouldn’t have been so bad, except the father was an alcoholic and it was the 1950’s when political instability and fear ruled the island. I found myself weeping as her tale got progressively worse. I’d find myself thinking I was at a point where things would get better, and then WHAM, tragedy would strike again.
I’m glad the author seems to have a happy life now. It just goes to show you how resilient the human spirit is. And I’m equally glad to have read this book. I did get the “childhood in the Dominican Republic” experience, and I also received the gift of a tale of personal triumph over terrible circumstances.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2014
Amazon Book Preview of The Coconut Latitudes