Top critical review
24 people found this helpful
Did I read the same book?
on 4 December 2013
Like the author, I fell in love with Iceland after my first visit, and with the anniversary of my only trip coming up I bought this to satisfy my "home"sickness for the place, based on the over-whelmingly positive reviews. Oh dear.
Full marks to the author for using Kickstarter as a means to fulfilling his Iceland-inspired creative aspirations, but there is a reason it is hard to get published via usual means. I find it hard to believe that the standard of writing would have got past the quality control department of most publishing houses; the content would be more at home on a personal blog than in a book. I assumed it had not had an editor either until I read the acknowledgements at the end; I can only assume it is difficult to enforce editorial feedback when the book is being paid for by the author.
The over-riding feeling I got reading Iceland Defrosted was that it was like listening to an earnest but dull neighbour recount his holiday. It is crammed with painful simile and strained anecdotes; it's clear that the author enjoys being in Iceland and has had a very nice time travelling around, but his experiences are not travelogue-worthy. He doesn't even attempt to research the majority of facts or legends he quotes - merely attempts to qualify them with such insights as "I think that's brilliant" or "I don't know if it's true or not". The language in general is basic and functional, with the same descriptive phrases over-used throughout, and doesn't do justice to this amazing country.
It's a shame - the concept is good and it doesn't have many rivals for shelf space in terms of subject matter. I can't help but feel that with a little more honest feedback from editors etc it might have made the whole thing more readable and less irritating, albeit it would remain £9 worth of someone else's "what I did on my holidays" essays. But as I said at the start, fair play for making the effort. I feel bad leaving a negative review but have to counter-balance the 5 stars given by everyone else. It's hard to believe I'm the only person who felt this way.