Thursday, June 24, 2010

Every Boat Turns South - Review & Giveaway


Disclaimer:  A copy of this book was provided by the author with the assistance of Pump Up Your Books, for review. The views expressed here are honest and are in no way influenced by the author.


Every Boat Turns South mixes memoir-like adventure with a moving coming-home tale. The book opens and closes in Florida, but its sultry and terror-filled center is set in the Turks & Caicos Islands and in the Dominican Republic. By interweaving the Florida bedside scenes with Matt’s confessional account of his wild life in the Caribbean, White subtly builds sympathy for his ne er-do-well drifter, as Matt slowly reveals the truth about Hale by coming to understand his own impulses and needs and by cherishing, through memory, all that his father had taught him. The writing in both sections forcefully lyrical and full of maritime detail (sailors will love this book) suggests an autobiographical prompt, but clearly the author is in command of a style that effectively serves his complex plot. The flashbacks pulse with sensuality, the take on island natives and tourists is nothing less than superb: The hotel swarms with interracial couples strung together like rosary beads . . . white women, pale as chalk, lean into black men like they’ve found the Rosetta stone. White men pull at strings of mulatto women like taffy. Meringue and rum, greed and sex rule. Everything. Everyone. As one of the novel s shrewd and exotic characters says, we all have our weaknesses once we get to the islands.

My Review

Every Boat turns south is a good story. The characters are original and they help to enhance the story. It’s kind of hard to have a favorite when they all supported the story so well. I felt really comfortable reading this book because it was set in the Caribbean (which is where I am from) so I found that many of the references the author made was easy for me to identify with. His plethora of references also made me realize that White spent some time doing his research.

It is also very clear that White is a great writer. He is vivid and imaginative and he uses his words cleverly to evoke just the right emotion for the readers. I enjoyed his writing because he makes you almost want to read on in anticipation of the conclusion.  Every Boat Turns South is fashioned on some great contemporary works and succeeds to some extend which is admirable for a debut novelist. A prime example of this was in some of the themes raised. For example, the prodigal son Matt is racing against time to return to his father’s death bed so that he can explain what really happened to his brother. The whole act was one that symbolized a sort of cleansing for Matt; after living in the shadow of his brother while he was alive and even in death, this release meant that he could finally begin to live his own life. This theme is also present in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.

Having said that all of that, there were times when the book was really slow and a bit boring. In addition there was a little too much sailing jargon that just flew over my head and admittedly did not allow me to experience the novel to its fullest.

While I liked the story, I am not entirely sure that I would read it a second time. I stand to be corrected though and I hope that with this giveaway someone will prove me wrong.


I have one (1) copy of the Every Boat Turns South courtesy of the author and Pump up Your Books Virtual Blog Tour. To enter, simply leave me a comment on this review with your email address. This giveaway will close on June 30th and is open to US and Canadian Residents only. (No P.O Boxes please). The winners will be selected by and will be notified on July 1st.

Good luck everyone and thanks for participating.


Amy said...

I love the setting of this book. It seems to be set in several wonderful vacation spots and since I love the water and the beach and hooked already. I really enjoyed the description of the story in your review. It sounds unique with ahost of terrific characters. I would love to win this book. Please enter me in your giveaway.

Thank you!

~ Amy

Anonymous said...

I also like the setting of this book. Just the cover alone is refreshing. Also, I have never read anything from this author before so that's exiting. Boring parts of books don't put off, I can handle it!


jewelknits said...

I've been known to slog through 'not-so-great' parts to get to the good meat of a story! Very well-written review! Thanks for the chance to win!


Mozi Esme said...

Looks interesting!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Busy Working Mama said...

Thanks for the chance!
aleksa91 hotmail

sharon54220 said...

I love memoirs, even though this isn't totally memoir. I love the sounds of it, and would love a chance.


bettycd said...

The setting does sound interesting. And there was a time some years back that I tried out sailing with friends.

bettycd said...

thanks for the giveaway. Started thinking about sailing and forgot to include my email addr
tjandbcd at

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