As a recent college grad, the author volunteers to teach English on a Marshall islands atoll of about 500 people in less than a square mile of land covered in palm, pandmus and bread fruit trees and surrounded by water. Coming in as the outsider with his American ideals, expectations and culture, the author doesn't find paradise, but finds a culture very different from his own as the community struggles for daily food. Eventually, accepting the Marshallese Island culture, he is funny, emotional and often critical of himself and the Americans who seem to know what's right -- for another culture and their history.
What is an island. According to the author: "What was it about islands that I found so alluring? It was this: islands are isolation, isolation is differentness, differentness is possibility, and possibility is hope."