Memorial Day, Michener and South Pacific

Tales south pacific cover

I was missing the Memorial Day parades of my Cleveland, Ohio childhood until I realized I was engaging in an individual Memorial Day event without even planning such coordination.

Having taken my Mom to see a touring company of South Pacific for Mothers Day a few weekends back at the La Mirada Theatre, I had finally decided I ought to read the book from which the musical sprang so I ordered a copy of James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific.  I’ve been spending the day learning more about the men and women (remember there were nurses nearly wherever the soldiers were sent) who patrolled the Pacific in the early days of WWII.  It’s a kind of double-major moment since it’s also allowing me the chance to consider which of the many tangential stories Oscar Hammerstein chose to include in the adaptation.  

Review of the La Mirada Touring version of South Pacific

It’s also allowed me to recognize a part of my reader personality that I don’t think I had ever noticed – books hit me like the lightning bolt of Italian romantic myths.  Tales of the South Pacific has always been available to me but it wasn’t until I had a reason to read it that suddenly I found a way to slide some reading time into my busy grading and writing schedule.  And then I swallow that book I’ve been meaning to read in a couple of days – like taking a vacation from life and work for a few hours without the cost of fuel or lodging.  Books – the world’s cheapest vacations!

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† Available from the LA Public Library

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