"Lost in the Amazon" is not, as the author Stephen Kirkpatrick claims, about an expedition that loses its way in the uncharted Amazon and struggles for survival. Instead, it is about a photographer, Kirkpatrick, who hires responsible, knowledgeable guides who successfully follow a trail from point A to point B and from point B to point C and then down the river to point D, where they catch their plane. In short, the expedition is never lost. The loyal, patient guides are constantly reassuring Kirkpatrick that they remain on course. While the trip takes longer than he anticipated, the men suffer foreseeable deprivations because of Kirkpatrick's failures, particularly to bring the necessary resources (adequate food, shelter, waterproof bags for his cameras). Disappointingly, Kirkpatrick blames everyone but himself for their misfortunes. Nevertheless, they are welcomed, fed and sheltered at the villages they visit. For Kirkpatrick to claim they were lost, he either became unnecessarily unglued during the trip, is trying to improve an adventureless story, or wants only to entice readers into buying his book.
Instead of drama, Kirkpatrick subjects the reader to a steady diet of complaints. On every page, he whines about the rain, the heat, the bugs, his hunger, his blistering feet, the incompetent Mario, his failed marriage, and his waterlogged cameras. Worse, when he is not droning on about his miseries, he inflicts his Christian fundamentalism on the reader. He wonders again and again why God has led him to the hot, muggy Amazon. Everything, including God, is conspiring against him. Other than a nice sunrise, a bird, and some flowers outside a village, Kirkpatrick treats the reader to none of the wonders of a rainforest. In Kirkpatrick's jungle, there is little enchanting or elevating or even beautiful -- just rain, annoying birds, and voracious bugs. Having visited a number of rainforests in Central America, I can say confidently that the problem was not the rainforest, but Kirkpatrick's gloomy personality.
Finally, Kirkpatrick is so self-absorbed and so focused on his suffering and unhappiness that he tells us next to nothing about his traveling companions. Other than Mario's fear of drowning, Darcy's skepticism of Kirkpatrick's religious beliefs, Estaban's failure to properly estimate the length of the trip, and Aschuco's loyalty, Kirkpatrick reveals almost nothing about the men with whom he spends nearly ten days. More than likely, he told us everything he bothered to learned about them.