4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A very honest, beautifully written account of one man versus himself, 3 May 2013
I should state for reasons of candour that I am a friend of the writer, but should also say that in times past we have been very blunt with each other and wholeheartedly disagree on a wide variety of subjects. I do, therefore, feel that I can review this book with a certain degree of objectivity.
I finished it in less than a week, sometimes cursing slightly under my breath at Tom's habit of conjuring awkwardness from thin air. He sometimes comes across like a magician who keeps shoving the rabbit back in the hat because it's the wrong colour - everything goes well but it's not the sort of well he wanted. This dictatorial attitude to fortune, however, is whittled away, sliver by sliver, by circumstances, and the reader realizes that, just like the writer, what he thought he was getting himself into is nothing like what he will find himself coming out of.
That is the beauty of this book. Tom is nothing if not brutally honest, and never more so than with himself. His prejudices, lack of preparation and outbursts are all candidly dealt with, laying bare the vulnerable side of someone I thought I knew rather well, and this only makes the love-story narrative of the book that much more engaging. His ignorance of many of the places he visits might strike some as na´ve, or even arrogant - particularly those who count themselves well-travelled, and say that they have "done" somewhere, who memorise long factoids plucked from a book, who quote what someone else said about the place and then agree with or destroy that opinion based on their own meagre experience - but Tom's unflinching lack of compromise with regard to his way of doing things is admirable, and wonderfully moving when you realize just how much the journey means to him, and how much it might mean to give it up.
This is no chuck-away, look-wot-I-did-Mum tale of a 1st Worlder finding himself, but an excellently crafted, beautifully written story of one man and his bike, and who they meet along the way. And while the book is of itself a very satisfying read, you are left in no doubt that Tom is not yet done with his journey.