Opening Line:"I was thirty years old when the seaplane T.J Callahan and I were travelling on crash-landed in the Indian ocean."
Gawd this left me shattered, easily one of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s taken me ages to get a review organized because I just couldn’t figure out how to write one that would do this amazing story justice.
There were just so many things I loved about this; a survival story, a forbidden romance, a tropical desert isle location, action, suspense, (freakin sharks) uncertainty, heartbreak. ON THE ISLAND was unputdownable from the very first page, took me on a ride that I didn’t want to end and tugged at my heartstrings every step of the way. Anna and T.J’s story of survival and ultimately love is fascinating, well written and not one that I'll be able to forget.
Thirty year old Anna Emerson has just taken a job tutoring a wealthy family’s 16 year old son for the summer. The job takes her to the Maldives, which is perfect because her current relationship is going nowhere and she wants the time away to sort out her feelings. Anna meets up wither student in the airport where they begin the long multi connection journey together. T.J Callahan is old beyond his 16 years, having just stared cancer in the face but spending his summer vacation with his family and a tutor is the last thing he wants to do even if she is kinda hot.
On the last leg of their journey the pilot of their single engine plane suffers a heart attack and crash lands somewhere in the Indian Ocean. With Anna unconscious T.J manages to get them ashore and then their journey begins. For 3 1/2 years Anna and TJ struggle for survival on the deserted tropical island (think Tom Hanks in Castaway) armed only with only with items that wash up on the beach, a determination that they will be rescued and each other. Together they face insurmountable odds and with each year that passes their bond and dependence on each other only grows.
A lot of other reviewers have mentioned the age factor being an issue but I never had a problem with it. I felt that their relationship took a natural progression due to their circumstances. I mean they relied on each other completely and after a time rescue and the outside world would have seemed a dream. Through uncomplicated writing and an alternating 1st person POV the author really gives us a feel for both characters. This is particularly important in T.J’s case because his POV matures from boy to man, assuring the reader that there isn’t anything wrong or dirty with the romance aspect.
The survival side of their ordeal is also realistically portrayed and this is definitely one of those books that will make you stop and think; what would I have done in their situation? Would I have done anything differently? Would I have survived? Could I have bettered the situation?
Throughout I kept having flashes of The Blue Lagoon (especially during the shark scenes) which was an absolute favourite movie of mine as a teenager (Come on, Christopher Atkins romancing Brooke Shields in a loin cloth) This may have played a part into why I loved this book so much, well that and haven’t we all had the marooned on a desert isle with a hot guy fantasy at one time or another? Other influences here were Lost and as I mentioned Castaway.
This is a beautiful love story that until the very end I was never sure how it was going to play out. *Sigh* the epilogue. I want to thank everyone who recommended it to me and I’ll be doing the same Cheers.