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‘Freeways to Flip-Flops’

An O.C. family ditches suburban life for a tropical paradise.

By Steven M. ThomasPublished: December 01, 2012

This memoir has several things going for it, including the great title, which was suggested to local author Sonia Marsh by a friend, and a gripping adventure story about a family that gives up the pleasures and pastimes of O.C. for life on a tropical island in Central America.
   
The Marsh family was disintegrating in the Southern California sun with a too-busy father, dissatisfied mother and one son clearly headed for trouble. But when they sell their possessions and move to Belize to regroup, they discover that trading one paradise for another has not gotten rid of hellish complications. In fact, the heat, humidity, insects, primitive conditions and sense of dislocation at first seem to make the family’s problems worse.
   
The book opens with Sonia Marsh and her husband panicking as a tropical storm strands them on the island while their three sons are adrift on the mainland unreachable by phone.
   
“Why the hell did we leave Orange County and move to this godforsaken island where our lives were now at risk?” Sonia asks herself. “Did I really think this was going to save my family?”
   
In the end, the year abroad does restore the Marsh family and bring its members closer as they work together to overcome shared misfortunes and learn to appreciate each other – and life – in new and different ways.


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