Book Review: Paradise Imperfect

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Change is good. But for most of us, when we think I need a change, we think bright red kitchen. Maybe I’ll chop 10 inches off my hair… eh…maybe.

But when Margot Page’s family needed a change, she looked at her husband and bluntly said,“I think we should move to Costa Rica.” Seven weeks later, she and her husband had quit their jobs and moved their family of five from the confines of the city to the tropics of Central America.

Sounds crazy right? That a family of non-Spanish speakers from Seattle could uproot their lives and move to the top of a mountain, three hours away from the land of paved roads…I couldn’t do that. Or could you?

When I picked up Margot’s book, Paradise Imperfect, I thought that it would be a story of one of those eccentric families. One that I wouldn’t be able to relate to because the idea of leaving my city, my home, to raise my children had never even occurred to me. Only pages into her book, though, I knew I was wrong. This is a story of an incredibly normal family. A family that left friends and family and jobs and schools and soccer practice behind for the jungle. Literally. A family with a fearless sense of adventure and open-mindedness that I was envious of from the book’s beginning to its end. A family that, at the end of the day, was really just looking for a way to come together and savor the moments that make every day unique.

“The rope on a life preserver is stout and strong,” she writes. “But so are the million tiny threads that bind us, every time we are simply kind to one another. Loving the kids, watching the parrots, washing the dishes–little bits of everyday connectedness matter. The everyday is, after all, where we live.”

Margot Page is wonderful. Her words drip with a genuine wit and intelligence as she tells a story that can be described as nothing short of remarkable. Her proses offer insight into the deeper truths of being a part of a family; be that a family in the jungle or one in suburbia.

And it is clear by the end of her story, that the lessons learned and memories made during their adventure are incredibly applicable to the rest of their lives—be it in the way they interact with each other and love each other and know each other—and that these new insights would impact everything.

“Yes, I’d have moments in conference rooms missing the kids. And I’d zoom around town, delivering them places. But no matter how parroty I got—and I would surely get parroty, squawking and running—we would always have done this. Costa Rica happened. Our togetherness is now marrow deep. We would always have the fireflies, and the memory of how one year, we stopped and took them in. Those golden ungraspable moments of brightness, of light.”

Paradise Imperfect is perfect. Even if it doesn’t leave you, suitcase in hand, rounding up the kids, booking flights to anywhere; it will leave you with the sense that just being together, anywhere, is the most important thing. It will remind you that we are building our children’s childhood memories, today, every day. Margot Page is simply requesting that we, as parents, make the most of every fleeting moment and make being together the adventure of a lifetime.

Add the book to your library – you won't be sorry.

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