Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pecked to Death by Ducks


This book has a number of pros and a number of cons. My opinion flip flopped from good to bad as I read through the 300 or so pages. I eventually settled on a Do Not Read...although there were many parts I it's a very tentative Do Not Read. In other words, I might recommend it to a specific person but not to everyone I know.
The title is what initially drew me in. Pecked to Death by Ducks - that sounds funny. I noticed a comment on the cover comparing Cahill's writing to Anthony Bourdain and P.J. O'Rourke. Great, I was in the mood for a snarky, wit filled, pithy travel log. The book's prologue is an explanation of the title where Cahill suggests he has a great sense of humour and that is why his books have such funny titles. Great, a humour book..or in this case, my first expectation shot down.
The first chapter is intense. Very well written, not in a funny way, but in a shocking way that pulls you right in. Cahill describes a trip to Kuwait post Iraq war. Dead bodies, eerily quiet abandoned beachside resorts, and the flaming hells of the oil fires. It's a scene out of the apocalypse. What a great start to the book. A five star rating...but, that chapter soon ended and the book never made it back to that level.
Many many more stories followed. From quick snippets of Cahill's trips to strange and exotic South Pacific islands to mundane accounts of his local travels through Montana. A handful of his travel accounts were interesting, but, the majority were mediocre and bland. Perhaps it was because I don't rock climb or take part in 'rope work' (there were more than a few chapters dealing with his mountain climbing or cave dropping) that I lost interest rather quickly.
The humour and wit that was advertised on the book's cover was non existent from what I could tell. The few attempts at sarcasm, witty references, or jokes fell flat (like my souffles or
Flat Stanley). I was very disappointed because my expectation was for a funny travel journal.

RATING: Do Not Read

I have started a new reading challenge for the months of July and August. I call it the dewey decimal countdown. I'm reading a book from the 900 section, then a book from the 800 section, and so on. This was my 900 choice. 900 consists of History, Geography, and, kind of a tough section to start off. I have a feeling my 800 choice will actually be hilarious. 800's include Literature. And, for some reason Red Green falls under the literature section?

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