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Island Born (2012)

by Frank Burnaby(Favorite Author)
4.26 of 5 Votes: 5
0983266913 (ISBN13: 9780983266914)
Sandy Back Press
review 1: I got this book from Goodreads First Reads. Thanks!Island Born is a well written account of a five-year sea voyage a man and a woman take together, to end up in the Maldives with a baby boy. The story is told by the author, and we see everything from his point of view, though he makes considerable efforts to try to explain the moods and feelings of others involved. I imagine that the conversations are re-enactments based on his memory and maybe notes/diaries. Sometimes you read a book description, and then you read the book, and you kind of wonder why the description was written the way it was. In the book, it is difficult to find much love. There is a lot of hardship that the adventurers literally bring upon themselves, a lot of bickering, and many episodes of "we want co... morempletely different things!" We see Burnaby's love for Gayle, but it is difficult to see Gayle's love for him. Perhaps this is how he felt during those years and we see that reflected in his writing. Certainly, it does not feel like a "love and adventure" kind of story. Not to me, at least. It is more a "two bumbling Americans who barely know each other set off on a boat with very limited sailing experience and make a huge mess of it all." I could use tags like malnutrition, bickering, stormy seas, and ignorant/naive Americans to describe the book further.What makes the journey an adventure is really the lack of seafaring experience the two people have, the fact that they insist on remaining vegetarians and Americans (both with its own problems, like inability to adapt to surrounding cultures, understand local politics, and well, obtain necessary nutrition), and a profound lack of sense of purpose for both people (Frank less so than Gayle). In fact, one often wonders why Gayle went on this trip; it is also clear that both Frank and Gayle wonder this often. So all of this, in addition to the usual stormy weather and strained third-world politics, makes for a good, hard adventure. There are many place in the story that I was surprised that they continued, especially Gayle.I am not sure if the author meant it to be this way, but I found Gayle utterly unlikable the whole time. Maybe it was because the story is told from Frank's point of view and Gayle seems to make everything extremely difficult for Frank (not that her demands are silly; you just wonder why she would go on a voyage like this if she was to have such demands; though one has to remember that she is 17 when she starts off with him!) So one main character down, I really clung to Frank for the likability factor, and even that was a strain at times, especially when he acted like an ignorant Westerner. Nevertheless, the struggle for his big, unshaped dream made me root for him often.Besides the twists and turns thrown at Frank and Gayle by mother nature and local politics (all-out war, really), there are some very comical moments in the book. Perhaps the best one takes place in the Maldives, when the relationship between Frank and the chess-loving island chief becomes rather tense (I won't spoil it any further, but Frank's hysterics are hilarious!)In the end, the story is a remarkable one. It would even be remarkable if it were pure fiction. The tension with nature as well as personal dilemmas and struggles make the book a page turner. At times, the level of anxiety is really high, and the reader can feel the difficulty of some of the decisions the couple has to take. Recommended for those who love sea storms, fish soup, dandelions, and who hate rats.
review 2: I loved this story of love, adventure, commitment, disappointment, success & failure, birth and death. My only disappointment in the book was that it ended, and rather abruptly in my opinion. I wanted to know what happened when Frank & Gayle got home, what did they do next? Also, just a small paragraph with a little information of Gayle's death wasn't enough for me. I love true adventure stories. Island Born was very good! less
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I won this book in the giveaways and really enjoyed. Such an adventurous story.
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