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The Backpacker [Kindle Edition]

John Harris
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
Kindle Price: £5.39 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

‘Leaving the blinding sand for the cool shade of the trees, I walked carefully through the undergrowth to where Dave, using two twigs as chopsticks, was picking up a freshly severed human finger…’

John’s trip to India starts badly when his girlfriend returns home and he finds himself looking at the sharp end of a knife in a train station cubicle. But his life is saved by an enigmatic traveller called Rick, who persuades John to question his mundane plans for the future, risking it all for much, much more.

Fast forward to the Thai island of Koh Pha-Ngan; John, Rick and their new friend Dave pose as millionaire aristocrats in a hedonistic Eden of beautiful girls, free drugs and wild beach parties. Running out of money and pursued by the Thai Mafia, they embark on adrenalin-fuelled journeys to Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and Hong Kong, facing danger at every turn.

Filled with wild adventures in exotic locations, this is not travel writing for the faint-hearted: this is an amazing true story of the hunt for excess at any cost.

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Product Description


'Read this, you will not regret it... like The Beach but this one is true' --Fresh Direction

'Complete escapism... with a gripping plot' --M2 Best Books


`classic backpacker accessory... Hunter S. Thompson style... This read encompasses everything... integrate your brain with this one.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1083 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale Publishers Ltd (5 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #71,586 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An average read... 19 Dec. 2011
Not particularly well-written, quite disjointed,and with so many 'adventures' attributed to the writer I was left with a yawning credibility-gap. Nevertheless, if you want an undemanding tale of the rather embellished experiences of someone travelling in the Far East etc., I guess it just about does the job. I managed to finish it, anyway, but its no 'The Beach'...
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting tale... 17 Sept. 2003
By Rachel
The Backpacker is an interesting read, and the twisting tale takes you through some of the most interesting places and situations. Visiting India, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Australia amongst others, the descriptions of these beautiful countries are enough to get you jumping onto the soonest plane.
However, this book is simply written - the plot is linear and the language basic (and crude) and many of the events leave you somewhat pondering over its distance from the actual events Harris experienced.
A good book for a rainy day, or when your under the weather.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By Rich
Having lived in Asia during roughly the same period of time as the story was set,I was gripped by this book. Read it in a day and a half. Whilst I feel that there may be a certain amount of 'embellishment' within the book. I don't think that it actually detracts fom the entertainment it provides. The author has the ability to take you to the scene of the action and actually experience the miasma of emotions that Asia subjects you to. However, It did leave me hankering for an epilogue though. John if you're out there, give us an update !!!
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
I did read half of this in the mistaken belief that it was fiction... and thought it was mighty boring and that the novelist had created three singularly dull and unattractive protagonists in his rudderless, pointless young men. Now I realise it's non-fiction (I'm heading towards the end) I'm finding it marginally more interesting but it's hard to care about any of the men who are uniformly free-loading, lazy, and appear to have no desires beyond the next shag or booze/pill binge.

And I'd warn any female reader that you'll feel like slapping the lot of them. If they were even worth that much of your attention: They uniformly treat women like objects - more or less disposable, more or less interchangeable. I'm currently at a rather sickening bit where they gad about a brothel of underage hookers. Oh yes, as you do... that's FUN right?

Suspect this is a boys' novel (and I do use the word boy, not man, deliberately). But personally boys, I'd advise you not to waste your money: This is overlong, badly written, populated by paper-thin characters and expounds frankly rather objectionable views on local people and women.

(ps You may ask why I kept reading - well I didn't really - I had it on audiobook and was on a very long car journey... even then I thought silence might be less dull than keeping on listening!)
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John Rick and Dave(real name Carl)'s adventures are nothing short of breathtaking - I was gripped by this book, and when I wasn't reading the book I was raving about it to anyone that would listen.

Despite having no previous authoring credentials, John Harris uses language cleverly to drag you along with him for the ride. I found myself sitting bolt upright reading the book during the battle with the storm and flat on my back in the garden reading about them chilling out in their make shift hut on Koh Pha-Ngan.

The language is coarse and many people will find the three men's morals difficult to swallow (drugs, stealing, prostitution, arson and generally lying their way around the world in order to enhance their experience).

John has spent more than fifteen years travelling around the globe and this is a window into just a few years of that journey - due to this some detail is left out in order to keep the books breakneck pace.

This book has found itself at the top of my list of favourite books!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun turned sour 10 Feb. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What started out as a fun holiday soon descends into something far more serious,a good read at a good pace.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Day Dreamer 23 Feb. 2012
I have read many travel books but this has to be the most truly unbelievable and made up story I have ever wasted my time (and money) reading. The author is either very selfish or he is a bad story teller ie the way he treats his girlfriend and many other cases but the most serious being not mentioning he did not notify the emergency services about his friend missing at sea after he foung help.

This book is a complete waste of time
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating tale - but poorly written 20 Mar. 2011
Thinking back to when I first read The Beach and how much I enjoyed it, and having traveled to most places covered in the Backpacker, I looked forward to reading this book. However, overall the Backpacker disappoints. While the tale itself is an exiting story, it is badly written and skims over detail just when you want to know more, while the main character is very unlikable. He comes across as selfish, judgmental and dismissive of many of places he travels too. Given that the book is apparently auto-biographic (at least to some extent), I imagine these undesirable attitudes are reflective of the author.

The quotes on the front and back cover ('Fresh Direction' and 'M2 Best Books') should be a warning that this book is lacking in acclaim from respected critics. The fact is that John Harris is no Alex Garland and the Backpacker is no where near the same class as The Beach. If all - or even most - of what happens in the book is true, then it is certainly a fascinating tale, however the quality of writing and many flaws can't be ignored.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Holiday fun gone very wrong!
A pretty good hoiliday adventure read. Put me right off travelling to the Far East though!
Published 28 days ago by Zeroidking
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for the travel-minded.
Great book. If you like travelling you will like this book.

You might not go travelling every again admittedly!!
Published 1 month ago by G&T Hogan
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of the bad reviews on here I feel are unwarranted
A lot of the bad reviews on here I feel are unwarranted. The book is a good book, not the best book I've ever read but well worth a read. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gareth
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into one man's travel experience
Great insight into one man's travel experience. All young people thinking of travelling Eastern Asia should read this true story first. Then be prepared.
Published 4 months ago by lesley
3.0 out of 5 stars The other reviews summed it it,
The other reviews summed it it, not fantastically written and in a class below the beach and gringo trail but if you want to reminisce on travelling adventures it will do
Published 6 months ago by Frodo
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant romp
A really good read, was on the road trip with him !!
Published 6 months ago by carol veal
5.0 out of 5 stars The backpacker
What a gripping read, the end was extremely disappointing but otherwise an excellent book, how anyone can just drift through life I don't know but I'm a woman maybe we're wired... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kate Morwell-Neave
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific travelling tale
Superb book. A must for anyone into travelling. Even if you're not I would recommend it. I was really disappointed there wasn't more of it.
A terrific travelling tale.
Published 8 months ago by James
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good read pure page turner
Published 8 months ago by B. Rogan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a brilliant read
Published 9 months ago by l p balzaretti
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