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Tropical Depression Paperback – January 1, 2011

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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. Sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious, Tropical Depression explores what happens when a person finds the change, adventure, and CIA agents she wasn't looking for.

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Back Porch Books; 1st edition (January 1, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0615431887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615431888
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 4.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,718,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joseph H. Race VINE VOICE on January 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
We all dream about running away from dreary boring jobs, especially during the cold winters, and landing in a tropical paradise (Saipan) with gorgeous beaches, swaying palms, and warm balmy breezes right off the blue, blue lagoon. For some travelers that are flexible and easy-going, it can become a reality, others have a tough time adjusting to a different culture, high humidity, lack of conveniences, and everything is falling apart and rusting out...and oh yeah, graft and corruption. Our protagonist Nina Barker ends up in the middle of this adjustment after her boyfriend Max broke her heart back on the mainland. She of course, takes up SCUBA, karoke, "boonie stomping," eating katsu and bats,and drinking too many cold beers; and finds a couple of boyfriends, one being a kind-hearted doctor, and the other just useless jetsam from a screwed-up life. In her job as a fledging lawyer, she finds herself dealing with 'gray' areas in helping her assigned judge make decisisons, which often seem a long, scary stretch from integrity. But she prevails and gets her life kinda back together. I liked it and found Nina an interesting character with a lot of hilarity and quirkiness in the novel. One classic line while Nina is thinking about herself in the islands, "What have I turned into? A bolero-wearing, suburban-mom-haired, fish-eating, rule-following cheater..." Buy it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pit Bull Lover on March 18, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
What a quirky, well-written, funny, lovely book. I loved it! The story of a very well educated, intellectual, somewhat neurotic, searching young woman pulled at my heartstrings, made me laugh out loud and caused me to want to hold Nina and tell her that everything will be OK. How many of us, searching for ourselves and our place in this life, would be brave enough to go alone to a not-very-well-known tropical isle on the other side of the world, where we didn't know anyone, to try to "work it out?" Not many...but Nina did and had hilarious, interesting adventures along the way. I didn't want the story to end and look forward to the author's next book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Maragold on February 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I felt so many emotions while reading this book. It brought back memories of lost boyfriends, wanting to run away to a new and different place where everything would be perfect, feeling completely out of place and awkward and eventually moving to a new ground of acceptance. The novel creates an environment where a young girl can grow into a wiser and independent woman. It was both funny and poigniant and the tropical island culture gave the reader a glimpse of the excentricities of living a bit over the edge. I loved it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steven D. Greenwood on January 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved reading this book about a lovely neurotic young woman who moves to a picturesque tropical island to lose herself only to face what she and many of us run from. Nina's search for love, meaning and security is threaded like a colorful hammock through the lives of island locals, prostitutes, drop-outs, a sea captain and a CIA agent who rents Nina her apartment. The adventures are colorful and the backdrop of island life under US "protectorship" is uniquely told by soon to be discovered author who spent 5.5 years living in Saipan as a Supreme Court law clerk after graduating from Columbia Law School. Ever wonder what life on a tropical island would be like long after your vacation ends? What cast of characters actually make such a choice? Then read this book and relax under a sunlamp. And wear sunscreen in case, like me, you are reluctant to put Tropical Depression down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David J. Highsmith on June 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an amusing look at life on a little piece of America in the Pacific. As a lawyer who has lived 29 years on Guam and who has visited Saipan many times, I can swear to the truth of these experiences. The author must be an optimist, becuase she leaves out the tragic aspects of the cultural situation she describes. It is genuinely funny, however, and will definitely lift your spirits. Well worth the trouble.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Galvin S. Deleon Guerrero on January 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
The odd thing about writing a book review--or a review of any work for that matter--is that the review, or re-view, is as much a re-flection of the reviewer as it is a reflection of the work itself. So as I read Arin Greenwood's "Tropical Depression", a not-so-fictitious (only a few of the names are changed to protect the guilty), somewhat hyperbolic, more-than-semi autobiographical tale of my home islands, I couldn't help but read it through my lens--what the anthropologist Paul Rabinow called the "insider's outsider", a native who never feels quite at home in his native town, but isn't exactly an outsider either, hence the label, insider's outsider.

As an insider's outsider, I found myself feeling many of the contradictory, paradoxical emotions that the novel's speaker feels--defensive, apologetic, embarrassed, disturbed, forgiving, amused, uplifted, and sublime all at the same time--about how horribly and beautifully insane, or how insanely horrible and beautiful, our islands are. The speaker, Nina, puts it best upon returning to New York City after a year in "Miramar", when Nina's friends (don't quite) want to know more about the island, to which Nina tells herself, "They do not want to hear confusing stories about parasailing accidents and the CIA's deep involvement with Russian refugees. I can't tell them about George and Brad, Robin and the judges and the secretaries and the CIA, Erika and Rory, unpaved roads, strip clubs, cockfights, karaoke with the mafia, parasailing ropes snapping, fecal lagoons, missing Max [her ex-lover] and bitter haoles and the cows at the court and how delicious mangoes are when you get them from the right store.
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