On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves



I picked this book up on a whim. Browsing through recommended books on my Nook, this one had particularly good reviews. “What the heck, ” I thought, “with that many good reviews it must at least be entertaining.” Oh no, I overestimated the capability of the populace at large to choose decent reading material. A little harsh of me? Perhaps. I’m okay with that.

This book starts, as many irritating situations do, in an airport. Flight delayed? Yup. Having to wait with a teenager? Yup. This woman, whose age is hovering around that turning-point of 30, is waiting in the airport with a teenager to fly to the Maldives to be his private tutor for the summer. Bored yet? That’s what I thought.

These two people, whom I will not even grace with names, end up lost in the tropics on a deserted island after their plane goes down when the pilot dies after having a massive heart attack while in flight. Can you hear the melodramatic background music? But wait! There’s more!

You can imagine what goes on survival wise lost on a desert island. Find food. Find shelter. Pick up bits and pieces that wash ashore from your crashed flight which miraculously include a first aid kit and your suit case. How convenient. I think, however, that the main interest of the book was supposed to be based around the character’s love story.

The young man is around 17 and as I mentioned the lovely (of course) tutor is around 30. It seemed to me that the story was supposed to dance around the social faux pas of two people of such differing age becoming romantically involved. They do end up becoming involved and conveniently the young man is sterile (due to his battle with cancer which is the only emotionally wrenching part of the story). How nice for them, huh? Lost on a tropical island and don’t even need to concern themselves with birth control. Convenient.

As any good “lost on a island” story goes there is a brush with a shark, making friends with dolphins, finding a long dead body, illness from malnutrition, and quite a bit of doing the horizontal tango. If I recall they also make friends with a chicken. There is no imagery intended. They quite literally make friends with a chicken. Sadly, that sentence was also the most entertaining part of the book.

After spending a few years on this island, a tsunami washes them off their happy spit of land where they are then rescued after floating about in the water for a bit. The remainder of the book involves the two growing apart in society and then coming back together to live happily ever after with a brood of children (apparently the young man had his sperm frozen for later use) . I promise you that it is no more interesting than it sounds. I felt that the book should have ended with them getting rescued from the island, however, on we trudged through them feeling sorry for themselves after being rescued from an island where they most certainly were doomed to die an early death. Big on on the self pity.

As a whole, the book had a good premise. We had tragedy, a meeting of minds (not to mention bodies), and a return to society to live out their lives together. What this book was missing was detail, feeling, and it almost felt as if the author became just as bored in writing the story as I was in reading it. Throw this one back to the sharks. 

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