I think I read the first book two years ago and it was an easy read and not horribly written, with some funny moments, but also some interesting observations. After finishing Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit with mixed feelings, I was definitely in the mood for something lighter.
The first book tells a story of our narrator, together with his girlfriend, his brother and the brother’s wife, when they decide to risk everything and move from Bolton to Tenerife in the early 90’s to become owners of a bar. Having absolutely no experience, not speaking Spanish, they come across all sorts of funny and tragicomic situations. I really liked the fact that Cawley definitely didn’t make it sound like living a dream, it is hard work and if someone runs a bar in Tenerife they really barely see the sun.
The second part starts four years later and the situation is even worse. The bar somehow survives, but our protagonists are exhausted, their life turned into a never-ending crushing routine with 5-6 hours of sleep a day and no free time, and also with a huge debt to pay off. To make things worse suddenly competition appears and from there on things really go downhill. The book still tries to keep light tone, but we’re definitely past being jealous of them living in Tenerife.
I won’t go into more details of the plot, it suffices to say the ending is quite interesting. The book reads decently, I think the first part was better, more sharp and punchy, this one is a bit more mature and disillusioned, but I think that was exactly the point. So maybe not your best ambitious literature choice, but if you’re looking for a relaxing read that will make you appreciate your life a bit more, then it’s definitely worth trying.
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska