Tripping on Coconuts: An Author’s Adventures and Misadventures in the Florida Keys
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Author Tom Winton was just a young boy when he first visited the Florida Keys. Since then decades have passed, and the longtime Florida resident has returned to the sun-soaked string of islands time and time again.
Winton knows all about the dreamlike state of wonderment people fall into every time they arrive in the Keys. He’s felt the pull of romance that forever wafts in the balmy, subtropical breezes down there. He’s also had his share of thrills, mishaps and wild nights.
TRIPPING ON COCONUTS is a compilation of the funky, emotional, hysterical and downright dangerous experiences Tom and his wife Blanche have had in the Keys. Some parts will make you laugh. Others will have you clutching the armrests of your easy chair. But no matter what your reaction might be at any point in the book, you’ll feel like you’re right there in that magical place where memories are made.
A Second Chance in Paradise by Tom Winton
Sonny Raines is a furniture salesman in New York. After telling his boss off, and quitting his job, he comes home to find out his wife, Wendy, is having an affair. He packs his bags into his old van and heads for Florida to start a new life. He settles into a small town just outside Key West where he meets good common people who also have battle scars like his own. He finds a new job, makes a new life, and falls in love again. But while he is at it, he gets pulled into a dispute about a real estate developer, protected mango trees, and a threat to the new life he’s learned to love.
If you’re a fan of Hemingway’s scarred heroes, and you want to read a six-star future best seller, here you go. If you are a budding author who wants to study the work of a master, well, this is how it’s done, son.
Agents and editors will blog and write articles about the “rules” of writing, and point to techniques that no author should even think of sending in. It is a rare and talented writer who can get away with breaking those rules. One of those rules is that a writer should never say “little did he know”. Another rule is that background information should be delivered in small doses. Too much background at one time is known as an “information dump.” As a rule, background should not exceed more than a page at a time.
In this story, Winton successfully uses the “I didn’t know this at the time, but…” ploy, and follows it with pages of background that cover Julie’s engagement to her former fiancée, a car accident, and a resulting handicap. It’s done so smoothly that the reader doesn’t even notice the rules are being broken. After reading that chapter, I had to stop and consider the feat this author pulled off. I read the chapter again, just to admire the beauty and skill of the way it was written.
The love scene is also excellently portrayed. While written from a man’s point of view, using tasteful language and descriptions, the scene comes off the way a woman wants it. It’s not just climactic, but tender and loving at the same time, giving, not taking, passionate, yet tender. Wendy was a complete fool to ever let Sonny go.
The action scenes are also tastefully described, yet make you gouge the edges of your Kindle and squirm in your seat. These scenes prove that, with skill, a writer doesn’t need to resort to guts to make a book gut wrenching.
The only thing that could possibly improve the story would be if Sonny realized that being sterile is a sort of handicap, too. That would have motivated the ending better, but even without that insight, the ending will make you say “aaaaaaaah” and you’ll be tempted to read it again and again.
“A man can learn from his past mistakes, and he should, but reliving them . . . that
does absolutely no good. If you rehash all the poor choices and decisions you’ve made, it’s like stabbing yourself again and again. Your spirit will always carry its deepest scars. There’s no way to eliminate them. And from time to time, they’ll come out of hiding on their own. When they do, let them reprimand you. Take what’s coming; ride it out, get it over with. But by all means, don’t ever entertain them any longer than you have to, and never invite them back.”