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6 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let go of this book, 10 Jun. 2011
I'd loved Nick Thorpe's last book, Adrift in Caledonia, so when I spotted he'd been busy scribing again, I stuck in an order pdq. It took a day to get here and then I basically didn't leave the house for 48 hours. I was completely absorbed, drawn in by Nick's candid (but never self-indulgent)and very personal story of learning to let go - and it's not as easy as you think.
Nick's got tired with being tired, weary of 'carrying so much, controlling and marshalling it ever upwards'.
And so begins a year-long quest to find out whether there just might be another way to live. His journey takes him to Cornwall where he hurls himself (literally) into something called 'coasteering' which involves leaping off cliffs and into the sea below; an event called the No Mind festival in Sweden where he encounters other people also looking for ways to relax in a world gone mad including a really moving encounter with an alcoholic; a couple of days at a naturist camp in Cornwall (revealing in more ways than one), mixing with street kids in Durban and winding up at a monastry in New Mexico.
And in the midst of these and other adventures, is the very intimate story of how Nick and his family prepare to adopt a small boy for the first time.
Aong the way Nick asks the questions I guess most of us of wonder about in the crazy, unpredictable times we live in. Can you relax if you're not in control? What will happen if we learn to be really honest with the people in our lives? And how can an anxious guy learn to loosen up a little and let his hair down?
Nick explores these and other predicaments but his writing is never intense and there is plenty of humility and lovely, gentle humour along the way.
Sometimes, you come across a book that leaves an impression which you just know will be there for a while. For me, this is one of those books. In learning to die to a few things, Nick Thorpe has written a book that is full of life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Urban Worrier, Adventures in the Lost Art of Letting Go, 13 Jun. 2011
Journalist and writer Nick Thorpe embarks on a journey which over the space of 12 months takes him from wandering through a Cornish tourist attraction without a stitch of clothing, to scuba diving off the South African coast and finally experiencing three days of silent contemplation in the New Mexican desert.

His quest covers three continents and on the way he connects with a cast of characters ranging from the blessedly inspired to the seriously deranged. But the geography of the journey is only the veneer, what Thorpe has mapped is an inner journey which begins with a man overwhelmed by serious neurosis and ends with some powerful insights into what it takes to be a father in these times.

While Thorpe embarks on his quest riddled with self-doubt, what is not in doubt is his ability as a writer. The power of the work is in the author's willingness to chronicle his discoveries with candour, humour and a powerful observational skill delivered without any journalistic cynicism or judgement. Given the material he collects from self-appointed guru's, self-obsessed New-Age seekers, and self-willed workshop junkies it would have been all to easy to take the Louise Theroux option and go for the cheap laughs.

But instead Urban Worrier offers what could be described as alternative self-help book. Where most of the mass market of this genre is dedicated to informing the reader what to think, Thorpe is prepared to expose himself and his own vulnerability, so the journey is exciting, the humour is light and more often slightly self-deprecating and as a result the message is incisive. There is drama, direction and an over arching story of Thorpe's fear that his insecurities and shortcomings will impact on his relationship with his wife and ultimately their potential as parents.

In the end a new man emerges, one more at peace with himself and the world he lives in. The story concludes with a new beginning as Thorpe and his wife embark on parenthood.

Urban Worrier has the potential to change a little of the world we live in, not by telling men how they should change but by inspiring men who want to change. And most inspiring of all is the knowledge that in the end there is a boy growing up, who will learn that the opposite of fear is faith.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing!, 10 Jun. 2011
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I have just finished reading this beautiful book. Not an easy thing to do considering that my eyes were brimming with tears through the final chapter.
It is a wonderfully revealing, enlightening and inspiring story, written with great honesty and humility. A travellers tale where you accompany the writer each step of the way and feel grateful that he had the boldness to go through experiences you would instinctively avoid.
The scale both of the outer and inner journey is remarkable: don't be deceived into thinking this is just another exploration of new age navel-gazing carried out with the sole purpose of producing another book: it is a genuine pilgrimage, the conclusion of which left this reader quite broken.
One of those rare books that I laid aside with the feeling "Having read that I will never be the same again".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Put It Down, 27 July 2014
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Finally got round to reading it and found that I didn't want to stop. Nick's a lucky man to have had the opportunity to take off on so many amazing adventures, something I am sure that we all wish that we could do. In some way we are physically taken on the journey with him, thus enabling us to escape from our day to day inner struggles too. A witty and well written book which makes you think, yet leaves you with the feel good factor.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must--read, 6 May 2013
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A must-read for men in their 40s going through their mid-life crisis and are looking for someone who went through it all.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lovely, funny, insightful book, 14 Jun. 2011
I found this book hard to put down. So much to like, such an easy read, the feeling of being in the company of a genuinely decent guy trying to find a way through life when the current way just doesn't seem to work any more. And then trying a new tack, and that doesn't quite work either, so on to the next thing. So recognisable it makes you groan as well as laugh, proves that the more personal a story is, the more universal it can become. (I even recognised a marital argument.) The humour is great (including some laugh out loud bits) and the refreshing bloke-ishness and groundedness of it. The book brought back a familiar longing for something indefinable, spirituality, balance, fulfilment, whatever you call it and made me start the search all over again.
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Urban Worrier: Adventures in the Lost Art of Letting Go
Urban Worrier: Adventures in the Lost Art of Letting Go by Nick Thorpe (Paperback - 7 Mar. 2013)
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