Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tropical Depression by Arin Greenwood

From back of book:

Nina Barker is a neurotic young New York lawyer whose life is coming apart.  After suffering a lost job and a bad breakup, she flees the increasingly painful world she knows in favor of what she imagines - quite wrongly, it turns out - will be a simpler life on the remote island of Miramar.  Populated with corrupt politicians, quirky and frequently intoxicated expats, ghosts, strippers, and a guy who may or may not be working for the CIA, Nina soon discovers her tropical escape isn't exactly paradise - it's also not boring.

My thoughts:

Northern Exposure. The t.v. show about Joel ( a NYC doc) who winds up in a small town in Alaska working as their town doc in order to pay off his med school debt.  That is what this book reminded me of. Of course, Nina was a lawyer and she chose to run away to Miramar after losing her job and getting dumped by her boyfriend - so, technically its nothing like Northern Exposure.  Except that it is, because Miramar is most definitely a strange new world that does not compute on Nina's NYC radar (just like Joel and Cicely)and she soon finds herself enmeshed in the lives and livelihood of this odd little island filled with strippers and fecal filled beaches.  In this book, we get to see Nina at her worst (insecure, self-involved and pathetic at times) and then finally at her somewhat less worst (slightly secure, self-aware, and less pathetic).  We get to experience an island that seems to be long ago forgotten and yet for many, its a last resort effort at making a go of things when life has you at a standstill.  Its an interestingly odd read that leaves you smiling. 

Initially I loved the idea of Nina escaping to Miramar, because who hasn't imagined running away to an exotic island when life is not going the way you had planned.  Of course, once reality sets in and all the issues you were trying to avoid coming running straight at you, no matter where you are, well, then Miramar doesn't seem like such an ideal place to be.  And that is when all the introspection comes into play - where Nina begins to realize that running away means she is not moving forward and that her life is still revolving around other people and not herself.   We get to see Nina finally face the truth about her cheating ex-boyfriend and the role she played within that declining relationship.  We get to see Nina realize that her future is unknown, but most definitely one that she can handle. 

Tropical Depression is a well written book that makes you laugh out loud and sigh in frustration (heck, I even teared up a few times).  Its a book that shows us how scary and exciting change can be - when we finally decide to go for it.  Its a book that I would recommend to anyone and everyone.  (And its also a book that has me looking for Northern Exposure on Netflix.)


Lisa said...

Oh my goodness, I have got to read a book that makes you think of "Northern Exposure!" We loved that show and this book does sound great.

Ti said...

Northern Exposure was a great show. Sigh.

This book sounds pretty interesting. As you said, who hasn't thought about escaping to some remote locale when things get tough? So many think it, but not many do it.

For me, I'd probably love day one and then freak out more because I am out of my comfort zone. I'm sort of a spaz that way :)

Rick Vaughn/ Back Porch Books said...

Thanks for the excellent review! I have linked to it over at our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/TropicalDepressionBook).

Steph said...

I haven't seen a single episode of Northern Exposure, but this sounds wonderful. You've made me curious about this book (my dreams of running off to another world are in high gear at the moment)and the show.

Anonymous said...

I actually read the book and gotta say I thought it was great. Laugh-out loud funny in many parts. Would definitely recommend it, whether you loved Northern Exposure or not (ps: I did)

Nadia said...

Lisa, its a fun book and who didn't love Northern Exposure, right? LOL!

Ti, I know! I heart John Corbett :) And I know what you mean. When I decided to run away from my problems I chose to do it via getting my MRes in Women's Studies in England - not exactly a tropical island - LOL! And it didn't really work ( as far as getting away from my probs, but at least I got a degree out of it :)

Rick, glad you liked it! And thanks for linking it to FB.

Steph, you have to watch it! Its so good! Too bad they don't have reruns of it, so you could at least get a taste of it. And, like you, running away from it all sounds great right about now :)

Anonymous, glad you liked Northern Exposure and the book ;)

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a good one! I love the premise and title!