Return To Vieques. As it turns out, this book is a sequel to Life And Other Near Death Experiences. I didn’t know that going in, but I’ve read a couple of Pagan’s other books and had to read this one too. (And yes, I *have* Life already, I just haven’t *read* it yet. :D) But this is a “sequel” in that it follows some of the same characters years later, rather than being an “immediate aftermath” type sequel. So in that sense, think of it more along the lines of Nicholas Sparks‘ The Wedding (“sequel” to The Notebook, years later) or maybe the new Saved By The Bell reboot (which I haven’t seen yet, but have seen the premise of). In other words, not knowing the first tale might have *slight* detriments here as far as getting the full potential impact of certain scenes, but overall this book is closer to being a standalone book rather than a “you MUST read this other book first” type.
Within this tale itself, you get a strong look at what life in the Caribbean (and, technically, nearby Atlantic) can do for a “mainlander” – but also a view of what life there is *really* like, specifically in the aftermath of storms like Irma and (specifically used in the text) Maria. Potential real world spoiler sentence: (view spoiler) And we’re back: Overall, this book is what I’ve come to expect from Pagan: Tackling solid, hard hitting issues with enough humor to be enjoyable and enough heart to be heart wrenching. So read it, enjoy it, and consider the possibilities. Very much recommended.
This review of Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around by Camille Pagan was originally written on January 5, 2021.