Friday, June 6, 2014

On the Island

Title:  On the Island
Author:  Tracey Garvis Graves
Publication Information:  Penguin Group. 2011. 328 pages.
ISBN:  014219672X / 978-0142196724

Book Source:  I read this book as this month's selection for my local book club.

Favorite Quote:  "Some of the things you wanted me to experience already passed me by, and I can't go back."

The premise of this book is that a relationship that would probably never even have started in the "read world" can exist and thrive under extreme circumstances, perhaps because of the extreme circumstances. The question is can that relationship survive when the circumstances change, and people re-emerge into the everyday world?

TJ is a young man in remission from cancer. His family is headed to a vacation in the Maldives in an effort to put the illness behind them. However, since TJ has missed so much school due to his illness, he needs the summer to catch up. Anna is a teacher, who takes on the job of tutoring TJ over the summer.

The book begins as TJ and Anna take a flight to join his family in the Maldives. The plane crashes, ad the two of them end up stranded on a deserted island. They are stranded for years. A large part of the book is about how they survive and about the relationship that develops between the two of them during this time.

A relationship certainly does develop. TJ's mother asks him "What kind of relationship did you and Anna have?" TJ responds, "Exactly the kind you think we did."

The latter part of the book is about whether that relationship can survive outside of the island.

I would call On the Island a summer beach read except for the fact that it begins with a plane crash on the way to a summer vacation in a beautiful tropical location. Anna and TJ's start on the beach is not such a positive one.

I would have liked this book if everything had not ended in a neat package - on the island and off the island. The characters were a little too perfect in their actions, reactions, and understanding. Even though the book started with a life-threatening illness and the extreme disaster of a plane crash, everything else about the story has a very rose-colored tone. Everyone understands each other's motivations and emotions. Everyone puts the other person ahead of their own needs. It's all a bit too perfect. That fact was the surprising and disappointing note in the book.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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