This article is from the April 2004 The Mexico File newsletter.
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Where the Sky is Born – Living in the Land of the Maya

by Jeanine Kitchell

Enchanted Island Press, $15.00, 217 pages.  

Reviewed by David Simmonds 

I met Jeanine a few years ago in the bookstore she and her husband, Paul Zappella, owned in the small town of Puerto Morelos, a little south of Cancun. They were a likable, friendly couple, so we exchanged emails and I began sending her this newsletter. 

Later, she contributed a couple of articles to The Mexico File that I liked. They were well-written, but nothing I gave a whole lot of thought to. So when I heard from her about a year ago and she told me about this book she was writing I wished her luck,  really didn’t expect anything special, and had doubts about it ever being published. How many people have I met who are working on a book that, well, never quite get completed?  

Recently she sent me a copy (yes, it did get published) of her work and asked if I would review it for The Mexico File. I was typically backed up on reading, writing and traveling and it took me a while to finally get to it, again, not expecting much. I have read other attempts by the naďve gringo author who immediately lets you know that they just don’t “get it” when it comes to Mexico – the country and the people. And the writing in these books – well, it does drag on and on, becoming very self-indulgent and often whiny beyond my ability to continue with it. 

As I started to read Jeanine’s tale of her move-to-Mexico experience, it became clear to me right away that this book is different. This one is good! “Yes! That is the way things are, Jeanine, you understand the country,” I kept mumbling to myself.  

Anyway, I blazed through the book, this narrative tale of her eventual move to Mexico and all of the pitfalls that are inevitable when one decides to bag their comfortable North America life and build a home in what was essentially a third-world location at that time. The book is an honest account, very well written, that would be of value to anyone who is considering a similar move, or to anyone who just wants to be mentally transposed to this fascinating area of Mexico that we call the Yucatan. This book is better than the other books of its kind and I highly recommend that you get a copy.