Jo Parfitt has done it again. She has written a book both for and about expats, and the extraordinary ordinariness of their lives. Marital struggles, identity wobbles, the difficulties of and with children (including not being able to have them. All the stuff of life that affects people everywhere, even if they have lived in the same town, in the same country, their entire lives. In Sunshine Soup, though, these very human conundrums take place in the expat spin cycle, where people and families go for a whirl around the world before stopping for a rest in their “current” home. In the case of this book, it is Dubai, and the descriptions of the desert are so vivid we can practically feel the sand burning our feet. There is so much to enjoy about this novel, and it will especially resonate with anyone who has trotted the globe in support of a spouse’s career, or once been part of an expat family in some way, shape, or form. I found especially poignant the hard choices/situations faced by two of the main characters – the leaving behind of career and the “need” to cram every day full of activities just to make sure there is no unscheduled time in which depression or self-questioning might infiltrate. The prose is fluid and engaging, and the added bonus of this book are the fabulous recipes that are included at the end of the narrative, and make one who generally runs screaming from the kitchen interested in perhaps donning an apron? Highly recommended.
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