The Mango Orchard by Robin BayleyMy rating: Non-Fiction / Travelogue
I have to confess that part of my attraction to this book was that I really, really love mangoes, almost as much as I love travelling... so the idea of learning more about a land of mango orchards was a very appealing start. And I wasn't disappointed: the various stops of Bayley's trip are colourfully drawn and richly described.
This book, however, is much more than travelogue. The sense of purpose in Bayley's journey is clear from the start, even if it's only later that he can find the words to explain "why" he was so strongly drawn to make the trip. Unsurprisingly, for a family-oriented memoir, there's a lot of focus on the individuals the author meets, and the relationships he forms as he retraces his great-grandfather's footsteps. I found myself longing to be there, not only to see the lush scenery and chat with friendly locals, but to share in this compelling quest. And that, ultimately, is what makes this book so special: anyone can go to Mexico, but most of us wouldn't have such a grand adventure waiting for us.
This story made me laugh (never has one man so narrowly avoided drug charges so many times) and made me cry, but more than that, it made me dream.