‘Only In Samoa: A Coconut Journal. Memoirs from the South Pacific’ is an account of LP M’s adventures and experiences in the Samoan Archipelago – his beloved, ‘adopted’ home.
Bored with the Australian lifestyle, LP M and his wife Mandy feel it’s time for a little change. So they pack their bags and decamp to Samoa – an amazing place where the people are nice, the local beer flows, and the sun shines all year round.
In between the relaxation sessions with Vailimas in their hands, the couple explores the country, admiring its breathtaking beauty and getting immersed in its fascinating culture. They have fun with the friendly natives and make fun of the gullible foreigners. Every single day is full of bliss, so when their idyllic sojourn finally comes to an end, they are reluctant to go home.
This is quite a mysterious book. As the title suggests, it’s a personal memoir. Indeed, it is personal. It’s private, even. The author doesn’t disclose his name, nor does he mention when the story took place. On the other hand, he is surprisingly frank in sharing his thoughts and opinions. Some of them are relatively strong, which might be the reason why certain facts and information are so carefully concealed. I must admit that this secrecy is very appealing. It definitely sparks interest. In the world where everyone knows everything about everybody, it’s nice to be simply left…wondering.
One thing you don’t need to wonder about is the author’s attitude towards Samoa as well as his own motherland. With his no-holds-barred approach to expressing his feelings, you know exactly what his views are. As LP M declares his great admiration and affection for the South Pacific islands, he thoroughly despises Australia – the country he was born and brought up in, and the country he has no respect for. His harsh words are emphasized with a distinctive spelling of ‘Australia’, which is written with a lower case ‘a’. Such preference for a foreign state instead of one’s homeland is not commonly seen, as people tend to favour things they are familiar with. This alternative, unexpected point of view may certainly come as a shock to some if not many readers. But the truth is, it only makes the travelogue more interesting.
Although the book is not the most outstanding work of literature, it reads well. The author’s style is clear and lucid and thus very inviting. It’s almost entirely denuded of poetry; what matters most is the story, not the way in which it is conveyed. This full of humour, kindness, and gentle irony memoir was never created to impress but rather to entertain and – above all – show people how incredible Samoa is.
All in all, I enjoyed the journey LP M had taken me on. He’s a wonderful guide and it was a real pleasure to ‘see’ the islands through his eyes. As the author himself writes: ‘One can’t help but fall in love with Fa’a Samoa – the Samoan way. Or as the locals say, “Only in Samoa.”’ I couldn’t agree more.