‘Don’t Walk Under the Coconuts’ is a memoir penned by Robert Borden. It recounts the adventures he and his wife shared while living on the island of Aitutaki.



In order to escape harsh Montana winters, Robert and Mary Lou decide to look for a nice, warm place they could call home during the cold season of the year. So when their friend recommends a small island in the Cooks, they are more than eager to pay a visit.

Delighted with their newly found paradise, the couple starts to enjoy everything it has to offer. Robert devotes himself to fishing in the tranquil waters of the lagoon, while Mary Lou takes pleasure in leisurely strolls by the shore. As they both spend more and more time with the friendly Islanders, they learn how to celebrate their freedom and appreciate the simple things in life. And it turns out that even traversing the roads on a motorcycle can be an unforgettable experience.


It can’t be denied that this is a very pleasant book. Not unusual, not particularly riveting but simply pleasant. It has the ability to transport readers to one of the most wonderful places in the world, so prepare yourself for an amazing and quite emotional journey.

What makes this memoir so exceptional are vivid descriptions. Robert Borden managed to paint a very clear picture of Aitutaki, exposing not only the island’s scenic beauty but also the kindness and warmth of its inhabitants. You feel as if you were actually there – in a boat trying to catch your first barracuda, in the village watching little kids play around, on the beach admiring spectacular red sunsets. And you don’t want to leave, for this place seems to be a true slice of heaven on earth. The author’s words capture the imagination. You get drawn into the story without even noticing. Not because it is a thrilling account of one’s adventures, but because it lets you unwind and relax.

That being said, I should mention that some parts of this book may appear slightly tedious. If Robert Borden could give you a hint what the majority of his narratives are about, I believe he would say: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we’re gonna do some fishing, then we’re gonna do more fishing, and we’re gonna be fishing some more’. Oh yes, there are a lot of fish in this sea of tales! Fortunately, they do not fill the pages to the brim. The author shares his first-hand knowledge, so you get a rare chance to discover the peculiarities of life in the Cook Islands. And you quickly realize that to be truly happy you need much less than you think you need.

As you may (or may not) imagine, Robert Borden is a natural storyteller. His reminiscences are a pleasure to read. They are exceptionally well written and imbued with wit, humour, and great charm. As if that wasn’t enough, there is this incredible epilogue that opens a mind and touches a heart, leaving you filled with emotions.

If you’d like to escape to the place of sheer bliss, this book will get you there. It’s a wonderful memoir, perfect for all those people who want to forget about their problems and just relax. Are you one of them? If yes, do not hesitate to embark on a journey to the Cooks.

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