I’ve been at this blog long enough to kind of predict my reading choices before I start research on a new country. When beachy island nations are on deck, it often means travel guides, or books written by expats or people passing through. Nothing wrong with any of that, but not quite what I’m looking for. But! Turks and Caicos delivers more!
Looking Back in Salt Cay: Preserving Our Life, Our History, Our Legacy by Patronella “Peggy” Been is a personal, candid view into life on Salt Cay, one of the more lightly-inhabited islands in the Turks and Caicos group. It’s like a family conversation at Christmas about how life was back in the day, and just the kind of book I always hope to find. Getting a glimpse into the basics of real life – what the houses where like, what people ate, how they shopped, what toys the kids played with – doesn’t happen every day.
Salt Cay’s fortunes have changed over the last 40 years, and the author lives on one of the other islands now. It was hard to even find a usable (copyright matters, people!) photo of that island, so I chose one of the island I was supposed to visit earlier this year…so lovely!
I’ve been at this blog for a very long time now, and yet Guyana will be just my second South American country. Needless to say, I’m thrilled to be visiting! Especially since I know very little about Guyana; this will be a true learning experience. Knowledge is good! South America is even better!
(Edit: I’ve also tagged Guyana as a Caribbean country. The more I read, I learned that it’s part of CARICOM, the Caribbean single-market organization, and is more culturally tied to that part of the world, versus the continent on which it exists. Super cool!)
Map of Guyana (image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Location of Guyana (image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Flag of (image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Enjoyment of a particular thing is so subjective. You can love a movie the first time you see it, but view it again in a different mood, or season, or after a bad day…and sometimes your opinion turns the other way.
I find that to be so very true with books. Reading is the most intimate of experiences; it’s interior, and mysterious, and very personal. That’s one of the reasons I pull my punches in book reviews here on The Global Reader; the world is so full of opinions, and while mine are just as valid as anyone else, are they really needed? Does what I think have value for you, or is it just one more voice shouting into the void of relentless content? SO MANY THOUGHTS…
That all said…I didn’t enjoy this book at all. It hurt me to finish it, but I find Anguilla so compelling, I did so out of respect for the place. I found the characters themselves to be interesting, since this is loosely based on real events, but even after many, many, many words streaming past my eyes, I did not get to know them. I wanted to, and was frustrated by the distance. I feel bad writing this, but there you go. Make of it what you will. Would you like it? It would be great if you did! Will I read again it someday, in a different state of mind, to see if I get more out of it? Nope.
On the positive side, it did give me some insight into independence movements in the Caribbean, the start of understanding how labor moves around the region, how different industries affect different islands, and how much history affects life now. Not a bad haul from something that I had to force myself to get through!