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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Misplaced In Europe by Lauraine E McDonald is a non-fiction memoir of a woman who ditched life in corporate management to spend the summer as a steward on a yacht in the Mediterranean. McDonald is made an offer to crew by her brand-spanking-new partner Bob. Caroline, as the yacht is called, is scheduled to weave its way through the Med with stops along the French and Italian Rivieras. Anna and Alberto call the shots as the ultra-rich and outrageously high maintenance passengers seem to have an affinity for Bob as the skipper; so much so that McDonald finds herself micromanaged by an increasingly terrible boyfriend and the subject of blame when it suits all three. The book is written in a quasi-journal format with recipes interspersed and photographs that pull the stories together.
Lauraine E McDonald should be teaching a masterclass in how not to kill your lying, stealing, soul-sucking boyfriend when you are out in the ocean and accidents sometimes happen. Until she makes that her calling, those of us with less grace can learn a thing or two from Misplaced in Europe. The writing of this book is witty and intelligent, with the right amount of humor to soften the edges of the more cutting aspects. In hindsight and as we read, there is some pretty blatant abuse levied against McDonald by Bob, and both Anna and Alberto alternate between taking their own digs. I had to put the book down when Bob intercedes with how McDonald gets paid, squashing her desire to be paid in full and accepting just 10% on her behalf. The people she's stuck with are even uglier when set against the backdrop of the most glorious sea in the world. Islands and inlets and coasts sparkle in all of their glory, which McDonald brings to life with vivid detail. There's also Adam, the charismatic Italian side piece that unearths another revelation about McDonald's past, a brief stopping point on a map that charts the history of a mother who was married for over two decades and is now calling her own shots. I love it when a woman calling her own shots gets her revenge and others who appreciate the same will adore what comes next. It's too good to be true...but it is. Highly recommended.