book review

Catching the Sun by Tony Parsons

13511855Just how badly do you want to find paradise? When taxi driver Tom Finn is almost jailed for confronting two burglars in his own home, he leaves broken Britain and takes his wife and children to live on the tropical island of Phuket, Thailand. Phuket is all the Finn family dreamed of – a tropical paradise where the children swim with elephants, the gibbons sing love songs in the jungle, the Andaman Sea is like turquoise glass and this young family is free to grow. But both man-made disaster and the unleashed forces of nature shatter this tropical idyll. Catching the Sun is a gripping, moving story of a family who go in search of Paradise — and end up discovering themselves.


It wasn’t my idea to grab Catching the Sun at the library. It was actually my husband who checked it out because it is about living in a tropical paradise, which in this case is Phuket, Thailand. It has always been his dream to live near the beach. But I don’t think he managed to read it. He’s not really into reading but I will not stop “encouraging” him. 😁

So, anyway, I decided to give this one a shot. Catching the Sun is about an English family who decided to move country after some unfortunate events that happened to them in their home country. The dad, Tom Finn, used to own a business but it didn’t do well because of the recession. With no jobs available, he became a taxi driver to fend for his family. One night, though, upon arriving home, he was welcomed by burglars inside his house and he chased them and “confront” them. The burglars file a case against him and he was almost jailed because of it. Broken-spirited, the family decided to fly to Phuket, Thailand to start anew. Maybe in this new environment, things will finally be good for them. It will not be an easy adjustment, they know. With the language and culture so different from what they are used to. But their friendly neighbor and the beautiful beach ease their worries. The kids seem to warm in the place. Who wouldn’t? They are living in a tropical paradise. But the people Tom trusted are not what they seem to be. And the pristine beach can easily turn into a ruthless one with death in its wake. Will the family be able to survive the disasters that keep hitting them?

Catching The Sun is not the type of book I usually read, but it is always nice to discover new authors and ending up liking their works. Did I like Catching the Sun? It is so different from what I’m used to, so maybe it is the reason why I don’t enjoy it as much. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a bad book. It is actually a pretty good book. What could be the problem? The plot is okay, it actually looks promising. It’s even set in Phuket, Thailand, a tropical island paradise. Reading about the beauty of the island will make you yearn to be on one.  I also like the gibbon story. The characters may be a bit hard to connect with but overall they seem okay. Even the conflicts are interesting (It included the 2004 tsunami!). And yes, it was one of the things that I enjoyed in this book, the way Tom and his family deals with the calamity. It’s not that I don’t sympathize with all the disasters the Finn family has gone through. Oh, believe me, I do. I don’t really know what it is but I feel that there is something lacking in the story. Maybe because I was hoping that Tom will redeem himself for what happened to him and his family in England. Yes, I get that the story revolves around being on a paradise island but later on finding out that the paradise is not what they dream it to be. I just can’t understand why it ends that way. I believe that it will put a more positive light if it ends the other way. I like reading about the Thai culture, though and would have wished to know more. It kinda made me nostalgic as it is so close to home (Philippines) and have a similar aspect of life at some point. Maybe that’s why it left a heavy feeling on me after reading this. I felt a bit disappointed since I was hoping for a different ending.

It may be an okay book for me but I’m pretty sure there are people out there who will enjoy this. Like I’ve said, it is not a bad book. It is far from it. It is even a story about hope and not giving up on life. I was just expecting a different outcome. Would I read another Tony Parsons’ book? Definitely! Would I recommend Catching the Sun? Sure. If you’re a Tony Parsons’ fans, by all means, go ahead and read this one. And even if you’re not and looking for something different, try this one, too. Who knows, you might like it. 




(*Photos and synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Purchase it on Catching the Sun

Purchase it on Catching the Sun

Purchase it on Catching the Sun

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