Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: All Good Things

This book chronicles the author's move from Paris to French Polynesia When her husband is transferred to Tahiti, the couple moved to the island of Mo'orea, a real-world tropical paradise. Much of the culture shock that Turnbull experiences is the sort that one might expect: life is more colorful, time is looser. Turnbull's descriptions are vivid, and I learned a great deal about French Polynesia. Many islands comprise the country, and Turnbull travels quite a bit, exploring the various island groups. I found myself looking at maps and researching the places she visited on the internet, to see photos of the places she described. Some of the Polynesian islands are exceedingly remote- essentially skinny coral rings surrounding large lagoons. The geography is fascinating, and throughout the book I thought quite a bit about what it must be like to live on a small island, out in the middle of the ocean, so far away from large land masses.

Turnbull's time in Polynesia is heavily shaped by her desire to have children and her difficulties conceiving. Even before her move the author had been undergoing fertility treatments. Living on a island blooming with life and color and approaching her fortieth birthday, the desire to conceive looms large.

Location is everything in this book. While it covers three different places (Paris, Polynesia, and Australia), the most interesting parts were most definitely those on the islands. By the time the family had moved to Australia, I found myself getting somewhat bored. The descriptions of Tahiti and the surrounding islands are delightful. That's the reason to read this book.

Sarah Turnbull, All Good Things: From Paris to Tahiti, Life and Longing (Gotham, 2013) ISBN: 1592408680 

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