04 March 2001
Book Review: A Trip to the Beach: Living on Island Time in the Caribbean, by Melinda and Robert Blanchard, *****
A Trip to the Beach is about the maddening, exhausting and exhilarating challenges Melinda and Robert Blanchard faced while trying to live the simple life after moving to Anguilla to start a restaurant - and the incredible joy when they somehow pulled it off. As their cooking begins to draw 4-star reviews, the Blanchards and their kitchen staff - Clinton and Ozzie, the dancing sous-chefs; Shabby, the master lobster-wrangler; Bug, the dish-washing comedian - come together like a crack drill team. Anyone who's ever dreamed of running away to start a new life on a sun-drenched island will find the Blanchards' seductive, funny tale of pandemonium and bliss unforgettable.
The Blanchards have done what a lot of us dream of doing: a fun job without bosses in a fun country with fantastic weather--at least in season! Aside from providing a thoroughly enjoyable account of their move to Anguilla, the book is also a passionate description of how one can make a dream come true, and with not that much money at all.
Having said that, their repeated references to the Anguillan "paradise" maybe a bit excessive when one considers the horrible red-tape, vicious hurricanes and logistic nightmares they had to deal with. But perhaps that is what makes this book really excellent: it is a realistic view of the pros and cons of the Blanchards' choice, devoid of sticky romanticism and with no trace whatsoever of the smugness and superiority complexes one often finds in writers who move to a foreign country and tell their story.