Travel Lit Review: Kinky Gazpacho by Lori L. Tharps

 

Kinky Gazpacho Review

Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love and Spain surprised me on many levels.  In this travel memoir you follow Lori through her every encounter with international experiences from International Day in third grade, to hosting international students, to spending weeks in Morocco and then to her eternal love affair with Spain (and a Spaniard). Throughout the entire book you get more than just a travel memoir, but you also get to see these experiences through the eyes of a black girl who’s not even sure of her “blackness.”  Many people dream of going on that international escapade and falling in love and trying to make an international love affair work – I must admit some of the things that happen in Tharps’s memoir couldn’t have been better scripted on Lifetime. It was a great story and I loved being able to study abroad again through the memoir.

More than the history that Tharps discovered and the reflections on race in Milwaukee and Spain, I was most tied to her time actually studying abroad in Spain. For the majority of the beginning of the book I found myself flipping ahead to see how many more chapters before she goes abroad.  Those stories are always the most interesting to me.  How can you not want to know more about her first marriage proposal by the Moroccan boy with whom her first date consisted of meeting his mother (first date?!?) where they ate in practically total silence? I live for hearing about experiences like those.  I also like to hear more about how Americans in other countries adjust to cultural differences.  In Kinky Gazpacho, Tharps remarks about the concept of time in Spain after her date, Manuel, shows up 20 minutes late to her home for dinner:

“The concept of time was a very fluid thing. Deadlines were guidelines. And it was true, if you said you were going to meet someone for drinks at six, not until seven o’clock rolled around could you get even slightly worried that they might be late. So I forgave this smiling Spaniard in front of me…”

I can definitely relate to passages like this from my time abroad in Italy and also from being in Dominca for 5 days.  Watches are optional, there are no schedules, things happen whenever they happen – it’s freeing but it takes some getting used to. I’d like to thank Lori L. Tharps for reminding me of these awakening experiences where you learn to appreciate the subtleties of other cultures.

Rating: 3.5/5

**Not sure if it’s an editor’s or publisher’s issue but at the beginning of this book there are typos and misspellings that REALLY threw me off – I’m a stickler for those kinds of things and it was kind of a distraction. I didn’t notice many (if any) towards the end of the book though.

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2 thoughts on “Travel Lit Review: Kinky Gazpacho by Lori L. Tharps

  1. Hi,

    This is lori l tharps, the author of Kinky Gazpacho. Thank you for reviewing my book. I’m glad you enjoyed it and I hope some of your other readers do too.

    I think it’s great that you’ve started this blog and you’re trying to encourage other students of color to travel abroad. Sure it’s a cliche, but it is life changing…and not only if you bring home a husband in your suitcase!

    Thanks again and let me know if you’d like to review a copy of my new book, Substitute Me. It’s a novel and has nothing to do with travel, but the main character does have a life changing experience while studying abroad in Paris (but that all happens before the novel starts) and she’s Black.

    Lori L. Tharps

    • Wow thanks so much for stopping by! I completely agree that study abroad is life changing… I always preface with the whole cliche remark, too, but cliches are cliches for a reason right?

      I would love to review Substitute Me. I like to review all facets of Study Abroad – what makes a person want to, the process, the actual experience, as well as its effects and how your life is different after. My e-mail is VaiViaBlog@gmail.com.

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