In her memoir and first book, Dillon tells of her 18-day trip with her two sisters to Vieques, an island off Puerto Rico, while reflecting on a life augmented by a loving, quirky family.
A winter trip to the Caribbean seems like an ideal vacation, and with the exception of a few misfortunes, Dillon’s is. Scattered among Canada, the Dominican Republic and Florida, the three Dillon sisters long for some time together and agree to lounge on the beaches of Vieques. The author, the youngest of five, shares memories from the vacation, while the gorgeous beaches, restaurant music and board games spark memories of her family. Through her comforting, friendly tone, the author lulls the reader on a dreamy journey down Memory Lane. In fact, it soon becomes apparent that the book is less travelogue and more family memoir. Most of her memories center on her parents: her mother, who became completely deaf after her first child was born, and her father, a hobbyist boat builder and greenhorn sailor. Dillon brings the reader on trips to the family cottage, sailing debacles, trips to the theater and family swimming challenges. Occasionally struggling, the author ultimately succeeds in maintaining an admirably positive outlook on life, even when reflecting on illnesses and robberies that appear in the veritable paradise. By creating this comfortable world, Dillon hopes to inspire nostalgia in her readers, but she’s slow to develop the personalities of her sisters, parents and herself, making it difficult for the reader to feel invested. Limited dialogue and detail challenge the imagination for the first half of the book. As the personalities of the sisters and their parents develop, the payoff is pleasant immersion in Dillon’s enjoyable stories.
A sunny Caribbean backdrop brightens this loving look at family.