My Paradise Lost: Misadventures to manhood in the Panama Canal Zone

Overview

One must handle the challenges of growing up with a sense of humor. Though living in paradise can be a dream, life is not without strife. There were no rich, no poor, and no unemployment in Brian Allen's Panama Canal Zone. Yet his home town was utterly destroyed and the dead exhumed. Brian tells his story with humor, warts and all. My Paradise Lost is about a boy growing to manhood in the golden age of the Canal Zone. It was an innocent, Huck Finn in the rain forest existence. His township of Coco Solo was a blue...
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Overview

One must handle the challenges of growing up with a sense of humor. Though living in paradise can be a dream, life is not without strife. There were no rich, no poor, and no unemployment in Brian Allen's Panama Canal Zone. Yet his home town was utterly destroyed and the dead exhumed. Brian tells his story with humor, warts and all. My Paradise Lost is about a boy growing to manhood in the golden age of the Canal Zone. It was an innocent, Huck Finn in the rain forest existence. His township of Coco Solo was a blue collar world of mangoes and maids, exotica and history. Misadventure abounds and teen romance is just as awkward in paradise as anywhere. There is parental conflict, life, death, and the ghost of Jim Crow racism. At the best time of his life, Brian is involved in a fatal car accident that puts him in the custody of the intimidating Guardia Nacional. His fate rests in the courts of a dictatorship whose El Supremo is bent on sovereignty over his Canal Zone home. You will feel the tropical sun, splash in the canal, ache for love, laugh at the familiar, and cry for the dead. Photos and popular recipes are included.
"I thought the wonderful days of growing up in the Zone were gone until I read My Paradise Lost. This Coco Solo girl was transported back to treasured days gone by. Brian beautifully captured the spirit of the Zone, mosquitoes and all. Thank you Brian for a personal peek at an evolving Paradise." --Betty LeDoux-Morris, four time past president of the Panama Canal Society.
"You learn something when you read Brian Allen's work, about history, about the world, about yourself, in a voice that is as familiar and comfortable as your best friend's." --Karen L. Barron, English Professor and award winning fiction and non-fiction writer.
Reader: be prepared. This is a charming coming-of-age memoir set in the exotic location of the Panama Canal Zone, and filled with humor, adventure, and insight. But My Paradise Lost is also an examination of colonialism, justice, hardship and loss. Through his story, Allen reveals the development of his character. In doing so, he enlarges our sense of what it means to be both Americans and global citizens. --Thomas Averill, English Professor, W.U. Writer in Residence, O. Henry Award winning author.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781481954235
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/29/2013
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Allen is a humorist with a tell-all Tom Sawyer voice and talent for misadventure. He was born in Kansas City, MO, but raised in Coco Solo, Canal Zone. He was the second of six children, the offspring of a Panama Canal tug boat captain. After Cristobal High School and Canal Zone College, he earned a technical diploma at Biosystems Institute in Phoenix, AZ, and a BA and BSN at Washburn University in Topeka, KS.
As a freelance writer Brian has penned articles, reviews, prose, short stories, and fiction. He has been published over forty times in newspapers, literary journals, and international magazines; including a year-long series on racing antique motorcycles at Bonneville.
He has published short story e-books on Kindle, Five Coconuts, Three Round Burst, Jungle Joyride, and The Essential ABCs.
My Paradise Lost is Brian's debut paperback. Seeing his childhood home nullified by treaty, bulldozed to the ground, and the dead exhumed, he was moved to pay the unique Canal Zone culture homage. Brian weaves the history, international import, and the political pressures of the 1960s with personal, warts and all, coming of age experiences. His special talent is to put the reader in the story where you can taste the mangoes, sweat with fear, and blush in the awkward embrace of teen lust.
Brian currently lives in Topeka, KS, with his true love, Tucker. For fun they race antique motorcycles for land speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
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