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Tropical Depression Paperback – January 1, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,772,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
Like the protagonist, I am an American woman living and working on an island in the South Pacific. While this is a novel, she really captured the spirit of the joys and frustrations of living on island time in a foreign culture. Probably the best small press/self published (?)debut novel I've ever read. Read this before you take that expat job!
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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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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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