Review of What About Your Saucepans? By Lindsay de Feliz

Readers will recognize the familiar elements of a good expat memoir – the triumphant sense of liberation at escaping from the greyness and cold rat race to the warm, slow-paced tropical idyll, the baffling experience of culture shock, the author’s perceptive and witty observations about her adopted country’s quirks as well as a good dose of self-deprecating humour at her own expense when recounting her initial misadventures and misunderstandings as a ‘gringa’ in a strange land.

The sting in the tail in this book is that unlike the expats we’ve read about in Tuscany and Provence, Lindsay’s Dominican dream-come-true suddenly turns very sour: not just once but twice. In both cases, in very different ways, the sequence of events is truly nightmarish in that every time it seems as if things are finally getting resolved, another unforeseen and unbelievable complication arises.

And in contrast with what one would imagine most people doing in her situation, Lindsay doesn’t seriously consider the option of packing it all in and leaving for the safety, predictability and comfort of her home country. She was determined to stick it out and that’s what makes the reading so absolutely riveting.

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Lindsay endured the most incredible adversities with zero self-pity and happily is with us to tell the tale. In fact, the writing of the book is what has helped her make sense of it all. Although it’s clear that her love and respect for her adopted country hardly wavered in the process, she never particularly idealises the Dominican Republic nor is sentimental about its people – she acknowledges and understands the complexities of poverty, injustice, corruption and their consequences, as someone who has had to tackle them head-on.

At times, readers will shake their heads at the frustrations and laugh at some of the absurd situations and statements the author recounts. But more than anything they will marvel at Lindsay’s remarkable resilience and positive spirit. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

You can buy it online from Amazon –