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3.9 out of 5 stars62
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Great read, didn't want to put the book down.
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on 13 August 2014
Book didn't flow, was hard to get into.
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on 5 August 2014
Easy reading!!!
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on 13 May 2001
I got extremely fed up with Tansy's/the author's patronising views such as: 18 year olds who travel are usually just on their 'Gap Years', where as everyone else has FAR more complicated reasons. Or the comments about how badly written + uninspired [some travel] books are. Or the bits about how backpackers over run and spoil remoter places, such as in Laos.
One may certainly argue that as an extremely rich, late twenty-something, first-time traveller, it is a bit of a joke for Tansy to suddenly start feeling such irritation towards things like guide books + fellow-travellers, like, after 2 months on the tourist trail.
It is no more cool or soul-searching to take a "Gap Year" when you're nearly 30, than it is when you're 18 - except that at least when you're only 18 you have the maturity and courage to do it earlier.
I felt that there was very little actual story in this book - it was largely a series of complaints + prejudices about other people, and I found it all rather self-indulgent.
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on 10 September 2001
My girlfriend pressed me to read this book thinking that because I have travelled to many of the locations I would enjoy it.How wrong could she be!!This was one of the worst books that I have ever read with flaws ranging from shallow stereotypical characterisation to the yawnsome,oh so predictable ending.Now maybe I am being unfair to Ms Barr as I was reading a book by one of the greatest travel writers of all time,namely Norman Lewis's "Golden Earth" alternately with this book and most writers would suffer in comparison to him..
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on 16 February 2001
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book - I found it compulsive reading, particularly towards the end. Having been travelling myself, I loved reading about Asia and reliving my youth. It was gripping and funny, and made me laugh out loud on the train. Great plot. Fantastic stuff.
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on 4 August 2001
I found it very difficult to finish this book because it just dragged and rambled on so much. Worse than Tansy being an unlikeable character is the fact she's also horrendously boring - an upper-class snob with more money than sense, who thinks that because she FINALLY stops moaning and actually enjoys her holiday, that she's some kind of great philosopher on world cultures. As she is completely minted and consciously CHOOSES to go travelling, it gets a bit tedious to read about what an endurance test it is. Anyone would think she'd been sent to prison for a year. Travelling is really not THAT big a deal.
I do not think the portrayal of an alcoholic mother was realistic at all, and simply contributes to illustrate what a selfish, clueless character Tansy is.
Overall: slow-moving and boring
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on 14 May 2001
A disapointement coming from Ms Barr, not much more than a rambling, self indulgent extension to her (excellent) newspaper columns, far too predictable in plot, structure and characterisation. Will probably go down a storm with backpackers everywhere.
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on 14 February 2001
I'm frankly quite amazed that the last reviewer said this book was better than 'The Beach.'
This novel is another Chick Lit novel at the trashier end of the spectrum marketed with a bit of an edge. I found the prose style quite flat and unlike the Beach, where Alex Garland creates an entire new world, the author doesn't really give you a very vivid picture of her travels. Having never been to Asia, I wanted to feel, smell and taste the place through the book. But the heroine is far more interested in her own neurosis and hysteria.
This is the worst problem with the book. Alex Garland created a hero who is amoral and yet very sympathetic and he narrates his breakdown / decline with imagination and skill. Yet Emily Barr's heroine is probably one of the most unsympathetic I've come across. She is addicted to coke, she's verging on alcoholism, she's hysterical, convinced the world is against her and even the history of her mother's death is not enough to evoke our sympathy. She's basically a complete mess.
I also had the uneasy feeling that the author was trying to be cool by mentioning the 'C' word a lot and talking about cocaine, as if by mixing together these trendy ingedients twentysomething readers will be impressed. Well I'm a twentysomething reader and I wasn't; the 'C' word is cool when you're in high school but when it comes to a serious novel I think decent prose is what's needed.
To give the author credit, however, the plot is good and I did keep turning pages and I did get halfway through before giving up. A more sympathetic heroine, (like Rachel in Marian Keyes 'Rachel's Holiday, who is a coke addict but portrayed with a lot of gentle humour, compassion and sympathy) would have saved the book. I would recommend instead that you buy 'The BEach' or as I quoted, Marian Keyes.
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on 11 February 2003
I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this book was to read and refreshed that the main character was someone alot of people could relate to (reference to: airline hostesses, bloody marys and Apocalypse Now nightclub). I just couldn't put the book down.
I only gave 4 stars as I believe that nothing is perfect and everything has room for improvement.
Maybe the only criticism I have is that one of the chapters referred to Ho Chi Minh City as the capital of Vietnam when in fact it is Hanoi. I am not sure whether this was deliberate, to make us think that Tamsy assumed this, or whether the author herself, a travel writer, thought this was true - who knows.
If at the end of the day you are still not sure whether to buy this book, then add it to your wish list and let some one else get it for you instead.
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