I’ve heard about this book around same time last year and got very excited. Lauren Juliff started out as a travel blogger and then decided to publish some of her (mis-) adventures in a book. My expectations were high, but unfortunately, I was dissapointed.
Originally, I didn’t want to post this review, knowing that many will hate me for it. However, it is my belief that, as a book lover, it is as important to give honest negative reviews as it is important to give honest positive reviews. The purpose of a review, this review, is to give you my honest opinion and not to sell a product.
As an avid traveller, I was excited to pick this book up, hoping to find homourous, but insightful stories about travel and personal development. However, I’m afraid I haven’t found either.
Sure, when you first pick up the book, reading about the author’s misadventures, you’re drawn in and you feel sympathetic. Yet, as the chapters progress, and the author encounters one big misadventure followed by an even bigger misadventure, most of which were a result of the author’s behaviour or overreation, I started to get bored and annoyed. I hoped to read more about the countries the author travelled through, but instead I was left with nothing but a focus on the annoying fist-person narrator. Only twice did the author bother to talk about her travel experiences that didn’t involve a misadventure.
Of course, part of this dissapointment may lie in unfulfilled expectations. Nevertheless, the book left me with the impression as if the author tried to create a book by stringing together one click-bait headline after another. This tactic may work online, but a book needs more than just one shocker after another. Unfortunately, when reading other people’s reviews, it seems that most get too distracted by these mis-adventures to step back and analyze the quality of Juliff’s book.
For example, other people depicted in the book were very one-dimensional, many were depicted as negative and unsymphathetic. Even Dave, the author’s boyfriend, is depicted as a one-dimensional stereotype.
I’ve thought about abandoning the book altogether, and haven’t touched it for months at a time, but I continued because I hoped that some form of reflection and ‘lessons learned’ would be presented by the author towards the end. Apart from a brief interaction with Dave, no such thing happened. The book would’ve been better if the author reflected more on the events she described and provided more insight into the personal develoment she experienced. Instead, all the reader is left with is a seemingly unteachable, annoying first-person narrator remeniscing about misadventures which, at least half of the time, were brought upon herself.
Do you agree or disagree with my review? What was the best travel book you’ve ever read? Leave a comment down below!