So, I know that my feet have never been meant for shoes, and it’s a great day when I meet someone else with the same joie de vivre. I first met Pamela Klein on Facebook, through our mutual friend Nancy Weil Brown. Pamela and I instantly clicked as twin sisters from other mothers. In many ways, our lives are very parallel. She’s located in Puerto Rico, where a piece of my heart also resides; she as someone who moved there from Los Angeles, and I as someone who’s been visiting my husband’s birth place since the early 80s.
Once I realized, via Facebook, that she’s living on La Isla de Encanta the bond was solidified. Any other US Anglo citizen, who’s as drawn to this culture as I am, has to be someone with whom I can strongly relate. With a trip planned for Puerto Rico, I let her know we were coming. The rest was a delicious meeting, in all senses of the word delicious, with both Pamela and her beloved husband Robert Giacosie.
Notice that we all had a love of beverages during our meal. Bob and Pamela had spent the day preparing an exotic Greek dish based on an classic recipe.
For the life of me, I couldn’t remember the name, but I knew I could depend on Jose, with a more global palate. He found it, “Moussaka.” The closest I would have ever come, would have been Meska, Mouska, Mousekateer… It was an adventure for me, stranger in a strange land. It was all thrilling…
What we had for liquids with our meal was the following, beginning with the wine and winding down with extraordinary aged rum: began with a 2001 E. Guigal Côte Rôtie Brune et Blonde de Guigal; followed by a Bodegas Nieto (forgotten the vintage), slid right into a Martinique Clément Rhum Vieux Agricole, and then to a Cruzan Single Barrel Estate Rum.
Bob’s face just says it all, doesn’t it?
We all met for lunch in a local restaurant, and then it continued into the next day with dinner in their home. That segued into an open invite to be with them any time we’re on the island. It truly was like being with a sister whose soul is intrinsically entwined with mine. We’re both very sure that in a past life, we were women of color and linked. Perhaps part of this life’s assignment for us both is to stir the melting pot of humanity… And our coming together during that visit was just coming back to each other for that snapshot in time. It certainly felt like it.
And, that’s what her book is all about… Her discovery of self and being drawn to the Caribbean Islands to work out her identity and purpose. Our parallels are eerily similar, and I’m not going into them here, because it will ruin the secrets revealed from one chapter to the next. Pamela has written about a character whose joys and sorrows have led her character to living in the tropics, to try to understand her life’s greatest purpose.
As a former editor of L.A. Weekly, having worked for one of America’s largest alternative papers, she chose to visit the Caribbean and would write about culture and race for travel magazines. In 2001, Pamela moved to St. Thomas, which gave birth to this novel. Pamela is a defiant Anglo, and so it was easy for her to segue her story in the characters of her travels. The pain and suffering of her characters is quite evident, and as an author, she pulls you in and has you also experiencing occasional tears.
Grab your favorite glass of wine, lock yourself away from the day and all of your own joys and sorrows and go on a tropical journey, while going back and forth between Los Angeles and the tropical islands of the East Coast. I wrote to her, in the middle of reading her book, that it was taking me a bit of time to read it, because so much is written in such a small amount of text. While it’s a complicated story, it’s compelling; And it will leave you wanting more each evening, as you cuddle in for the night, once you’ve kicked off your own shoes.
This is a picture of Pamela Klein’s West Indian family. She’s confident, articulate, thoughtful, wonderful, and writes with intense passion.
Very soon, Pamela will have a newly released book.