November 02, 2011
An Embarrassment of Mangoes by Ann Vanderhoof
A nonfiction, it covers the two years that author Ann and her husband Steve go cruising in the Caribbean. They travel many places, weather many storms, and meet a lot of other cruisers and islanders. Some of the places they visit are the Dominican Republic, several towns along the Atlantic coast of the USA, and their favorite, Granada. All in all, they travel from Canada to the Caribbean and back again for quite a long journey. While Ann is not as thrilled about being on a boat at first, she soon takes to it, and she and Steve become pretty accomplished sailors and used to life on a cramped boat. Ann also does a lot of cooking with local ingredients.
I love the way Ann describes the people in this. She is always so positive about her experiences and you can tell she truly is a people person and enjoys interacting with everyone. I especially like the deep friendship she has with a woman on Granada and how they exchange food and advice and even go back to visit her after the trip is over. They also meet several other unique cruisers with personalities that range all around. Most notable is the guy who is the expert on Rum. I also like how she explained about being closer to her husband with living on the boat because it is pretty tight quarters to be in with someone. Even so, with as cramped as it was for them, I can't imagine how it was for my mom when she was little and she, my grandparents, and her two brothers lived on a sailboat for a couple of years. I'm not sure I could handle it myself.
Ann kind of bounces around in time with her travels and devotes more book time to some places than others. As said before, they really enjoyed Granada and this is where a good portion of the book takes place. Not that that's a bad thing, there was certainly enough to write about there. I have to say the only downfall to the writing was the amount of technical boat stuff that she wrote in. For those who like sailing or understand it this might have been ok, but I found it kind of boring. Luckily there wasn't too much of it in there. She more than makes up for it with her descriptions of food and cooking though. It made me want to quit my job and go to the Caribbean. Fresh conch, lobster, mangoes, etc. my mouth was definitely watering. And she included recipes too! The ultimate way to make me love a book (and want to buy it).
Great travel narrative, foodie book, and more. I highly recommend it.
An Embarrassment of Mangoes