Clueless Gringos in Paradise

Adventures with my husband, his PTSD, and two enormous service dogs

Clueless Gringos in Paradise_rev3-front

Available NOW from Pen-L Publishing and on                                                                       $13.97; 194 pages in paperback

Chosen Ozark Writers’ League Book of the Year, 2013.

Read a review: Memoir Finds Humor in Touching Tale

$1 from the sale of each copy of Clueless Gringos inFreedom dog logo Paradise and $3 from the sale of each copy of My Life with a Wounded Warrior will be donated to Freedom Dogs. 

Mel Brooks claims that “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”

Mel Brooks would enjoy the heck out of Clueless Gringos in Paradise. Author Pamela Foster and her Vietnam Veteran husband, Jack, sell everything they own, pick up the leashes of two 150-pound service dogs, and emmigrate to the “tropical paradise” they expect to find in Panama. Jack is a former marine with raging PTSD, and the service dogs are mastiffs who are never further away than the end of a leash. The story takes readers through a hilarious and harrowing journey in airplanes, taxis, high-rise hotels, buses, boats, restaurants and cat-infested fish markets. Add a liberal dose of high anxiety – how could it not be hilarious?


My husband, Jack, and I sit in our recliners – you know, the ones you see on TV with old people in them – and watch CNN while we pet the fur-covered, 150-pound trunkless elephants we call dogs, and contemplate another winter in the high desert of Arizona.

“You know what?” I ask rhetorically.

Jack doesn’t answer. We’ve been married long enough that, first of all, he knows one of my lead-ins to a discussion about our lives when he hears it and, secondly, he’s trained his brain to simply filter out nine-tenths of what comes floating out of my mouth.

Knowing this, with no encouragement whatsoever, I continue, “It feels like we’re just sitting here waiting to die.”

He turns his head and looks at me.

A minute later, he says, “Yeah. It does, doesn’t it?”

After breakfast, I say, “Let’s move to someplace green and warm with a beautiful blue ocean.”

This, right here, turns out to be the equivalent of saying, “I’ll bet we could strap these two giant dogs to our backs and just leap right across that rocky abyss over yonder. Don’t worry about those loose boulders. We’ll be fine.”

Why would I even consider such a thing? Because Jack’s my hero, and he came into my life when I really needed a hero.

“From the dry Arizona desert to tropical Panama, Foster shares the adventures she experienced traveling with her Vietnam veteran husband with PTSD and their two gigantic service dogs. By weaving charm, wit, and humor throughout the story, Foster masterfully brings to light the daily challenges faced by veterans with PTSD and their spouses. Insightful, endearing, funny yet sad, Clueless Gringos in Paradise brings understanding and hope to all those who deal with the unseen wounds and scars of war.”

~ R.H. Burkett, author of Soldiers in the Mist

3 Responses to Clueless Gringos in Paradise

  1. Linda Bertalotto says:

    I have had the privilege of reading Pam’s book, “Clueless Gringos In Paradise” and just as the wonderful way Pam carture’s your heart and draws you into her “Life With a Wounded Warrior”, this goes so much farther in my joy of reading her works. It’s an adventure you won’t want to miss.
    You know, there are tons of books written about and by combat soldiers that are really great but Pam is unique as the WIFE of a combat soldier that tells her story of living with PTSD and everything that attaches to maintaining life with the aftermath of war with warmth, extreme humor mixed with alarm and honesty that is full of rare and excedingly valuable quality.
    We women talk amongst ourselves but we don’t share with the world. This is so much bigger than most realize. Pam Foster shares her deepest thoughts during these howlingly, rib-splitting adventures in a way that reveals Jack’s maddening impish nature while retaining her deep love and respect for him. She gives us a rare insight into what life with a combat veteran brings . . . at one moment you want to tear your hair out screaming and at the next, you realize you treasure this precious gift of life with a combat vet… and two giant dogs.
    And Pam tells it in a way that makes you laugh your ass off as those of us that are also married to a combat vet find ourselves nodding over and over. (If we are wise we learn to chuckle after we scream.)
    P.S. I’ve never personally met Pam, but I know Jack (he’s a member our Consumer Council at the VA) and I can tell you that Pam is not exaggerating about Jack and his booming personality…. and we all think the world of him. He’s a great friend.

  2. Pingback: Just For Fun Friday 08/01/2014

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