Rated Reads

An Embarrassment of Mangoes

by Ann Vanderhoof

Rated: Mild

Ann Vanderhoof and her husband, Steve, worked in the publishing business in Toronto. Everything was ordinary and normal: work, home, daily routine. However, they couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing. Then Steve floated the suggestion that they take time off, buy a cruising ship, and sail to the Caribbean. It took them five years (or so) to save the money, but they did it. They bought a boat, which they named the Receta (Spanish for recipe; the dingy’s name is Snack), and after setting their affairs in order, they headed south for two years. This book is the tale of that trip.

Most of the book is their trip south, the islands where they stop, and the yummy-looking recipes Ann gathers through their travels. I enjoyed Ann’s transformation, not only from a stressed career-oriented businesswoman to a relaxed human being who can enjoy life, but also from someone who was scared of every little thing on the ship to a confident, competent cruiser. I enjoyed their travels; I think on many levels they are the sort of travelers I’d like to be.

There are many choice moments in this book. Ann and Steve’s friendship with Dingis on Grenada, the calypso music, conch as an aphrodisiac, Ann dealing with seasickness and the Mona Passage, all the exotic food, the fishing, the sunshine, the warmth. This book made me want to travel, but it was more than that: what I really wanted was what Ann and Steve created for themselves: experiences and friendships that enriched their lives.

But reading about it was the next best thing.

Rated: Mild, for drinking (but overage, and not drunkenness), and mild swearing.

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

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  • An Embarrassment of Mangoes
  • by Ann Vanderhoof
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Reviewer: