Book Report

BY: JEANNINE PEREZ

A Cup of Coffee…Life in Mexico, by P.K.Moon. self published. 2014. Charleston, South Carolina.  259 pp.

It sometimes seems that everyone moving to a different culture/country decides to write about that life changing experience.  When my husband and I moved from New Mexico to Loreto, I made it a point to read quite a few of these personal memoirs, and found them to be very helpful. I also discovered that many of our experiences were the same. Yet, while we are living it, each new discovery seems unique to us.  A jaded reader surrounded by too many of these personal memoirs finds there are countless universal similarities, but after reading three or four memoirs, may decide enough is enough and ignore those without a special focus.

So, what is unique about this book? The back cover calls it “…an enjoyable journey into the Mexico of the 80s.” But there is something different about this memoir.

The main characters are a married couple living on the Pacific Coast, not far from the border, in that section of the Pacific Coast that is not California, and yet not truly Mexico. They have the improbable names of America and Sky Summersun, and have decided they can no longer live in Oklahoma. (Gosh, how does anybody do that?)

 The book, self-published, and with the grammatical and spelling mistakes common to unedited manuscripts, reminds me of one of my favorite old TV shows, Seinfeld. That show made it big by writing about nothing. P.K. Moon writes about herself, as America Summersun, and the simplicity and use of everyday terms carries us through the book. We read her worries, her descriptions of the never ending household improvements and decorations in their home, and it is a record of a daily life of everyday incidents and thoughts.

Oddly enough, she does all of this in the third person, and in the past tense, which is different from most memoirs, and that creates a detachment between reader and author. We soon realize that her evolving home is one of the most important things in her life, and is her own world. She spends a great deal of time inside, watching the house grow and change through the years. America and Sky live in this house for 12years and (as is the case in most of our own homes), it is never completely finished.  She writes of people, interactions, and always with this sense of distance, privacy, and apartness. I felt I knew some things about her by the end of the book, but she remains an enigma. 

The book is described on the cover as a couple who find “permanency and contentment in the country they have chosen.”, and it’s followed by a disclaimer that the book is the author’s perception of Mexico, which may or may not be factual. It contains five chapters covering seasons in a year; late winter/early spring, and finally, full spring/new beginning.

Her husband Sky becomes more familiar to us by the bits and pieces America reveals about him.  He sounds like an interesting person, with his constant projects and inventions, his fear of snakes and organized religion and his huge project of creating ice from power of sunshine. I would have enjoyed reading more about him.

A Cup of Coffee is an easy read. I enjoyed reading aloud the words to an old Irish song on page 64, America’s descriptions of gardening in Mexico, and I agreed with her descriptions of holiday school children parades (I love all of the many Mexican holidays and celebrations), and also her acknowledgment of the changes in a marriage when it’s taken to another country.  I was disappointed by the many negative statements about United States that were scattered through the text, and also about her view of the shortcomings and inconsistencies in Mexico. No place is perfect, and I love both countries. Well, maybe not Oklahoma.

Most of any plot in this book is subtle, and simply the string of incidents and her observations, but P.K. Moon’s writing about the ejido system implemented after the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917) piqued my curiosity. I had read some articles on this subject, did not fully understand, and so, researched more on Google (and I still do not fully understand the rights and wrongs of this system).

A copy of A Cup of Coffee can be found by writing to: 7298 Investment Drive Suite B, North Charleston, South Carolina 29416, or you may contact  zatilia@prodigy.netmx (This is the author’s e-mail address) There is no price listed  on the book.  I have a copy for sale at my El Caballo Blanco bookstore in Loreto.  jeannine1220@yahoo.com .  As always, I’m interested in comments by others. 

The author means it when she says she likes to hear from you, as she has been convalescing from a bothced operation done in La Paz for more than a year now, and is a virtual shut in in a hospital in Chicago. If you send an email to her, she will really appreciate it.