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Mango Rash: Coming of Age in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta

Mango Rash: Coming of Age in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta

by Nan Sanders Pokerwinski


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Moving to a South Pacific island from small town Oklahoma, sixteen year old Nancy Sanders trades cruising Main Street in search of tater tots for strolling sandy shores with islanders who feast on sea worms and summon sharks with song.

With a dash of teenage sass, MANGO RASH chronicles Nancy's search for adventure—and identity—in two alien realms: the tricky terrain of adolescence and the remote U.S. territory of American Samoa. Against a backdrop of lava-rimmed beaches, frangipani-laced air, and sensual music, Nancy immerses herself in 1960s island culture with a colorful cast of Samoan and American expat kids.

But life is not one big beach party, Nancy soon finds, when she clashes with her parents over forbidden boys and discovers double standards in the expat community. Samoa, too, is experiencing growing pains as ancient customs collide with 20th-century ways. In the midst of all this, a hurricane shatters the peaceful paradise, delivering lessons in attachment and loss, strength and survival.

Like Nancy, readers of this unforgettable memoir will fall in love with Samoa's biscuit-tin drum serenades, its mountains like mounds of cut velvet cushions, and its open-hearted people, who face adversity with grace. And just as Nancy does when her own health crisis thrusts her into a very different kind of unfamiliar territory, readers will draw strength from fa'a Samoa: the Samoan Way.

In language as lush as the island landscape, MANGO RASH enchants, entertains, and, ultimately, inspires with its message about embracing and learning from other cultures.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781941887066
Publisher: Behler Publications, LLC
Publication date: 10/22/2019
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.00(d)

About the Author

Nan Sanders Pokerwinski held the position of science writer at the Detroit Free Press for more than a decade, after which she worked as a science writer for the University of Michigan News Service for fourteen years. In her freelance work, she has been a contributing editor to Health and Alternative Medicine magazines and has written for More, Fitness, Dallas Morning News, and other print and online publications. (Her journalistic work carries the byline Nancy Ross-Flanigan).

A national engineering society once awarded her first place in their writing contest for a piece on potholes. Her work has garnered other awards—from groups as diverse as the Magazine Association of the Southeast and the American Motorcyclist Association—and a Pulitzer nomination.

MANGO RASH won first place in the memoir/nonfiction category of the 2018 Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association literary awards. In addition, excerpts were finalists for the 2015 and 2017 Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards, the 2015 Northern Colorado Writers Top of the Mountain Book Award, and the 2017 New Millennium Writings Literary Awards, and have been published in Colere.

When she's not writing, Nan takes photographs, makes collages, and wanders the woods around the West Michigan home she shares with her husband Ray Pokerwinski.

She can be found at .

Read an Excerpt

So here we are, finally, in Pago Pago—palm trees, surf-washed beaches, perfumy air, the whole bit—and all I can think about is getting out of these clothes. Sweat is pouring from parts of my body I never thought would perspire, and the atmosphere is too saturated with its own moisture to soak up any of mine. A flutter of breeze, feeble as a butterfly, stirs the air. It's nothing but a tease, utterly incapable of cooling.

This get-up that seemed so stylish when we set out on our journey—the perfect travel ensemble for a girl of sixteen, my mother assured me—was fine in Oklahoma City and Los Angeles and other points along the way. But here in Samoa, my outfit, so absurdly wrong for both climate and culture, only reminds me how out of place I am.