Lying by the pool in Cayo Coco Cuba, with my toes polished in a bright coral radiating against the sun, I was reading a very different story, one that made me even more grateful for breezy winds and cold daiquiri that quenched my thirst.
The book is called The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and it takes place in the 1960’s when a baptist reverend moved his wife and four young daughters to the Congo where their white skin and English language made them immediate outcasts and unwelcome to say the least. The story is told from the mothers and daughters point of view and was an easy read, but frustrating because it was hard to accept a father so far removed from reality that he allowed his family to be destroyed – both emotionally and physically in some sense – all for a higher calling.
I read this entire book while on my Cuban vacation at the Hotel Playa Coco and my first day there I was complaining up a storm about the late check in time, the toilets not working, the cracks in the wall, the crappy AC and the lack of towels, but the more I read, the more I stopped to appreciate the palm trees blowing in the wind, the kind Cuban workers whose monthly income is less then what I spend on coffee in a week, and the crisp blue pool inviting me to cool off whenever the sun became just a bit too hot.
Overall the trip was alright – but the book…it was amazing. I feel like a better person having read it and while it was long, it was worth it. I may never return to the Hotel Playa Coco (maybe in a few years after renovations), but I will definitely re-read The Poisonwood Bible.