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An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington Paperback – 2 Jun 2011
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"Genius or mental case? Prepare to be amazed" (Esquire)
"The funniest man on the planet" (Spectator)
"Not many idiots could make something this funny" (Guardian)
Karl Pilkington: Adventurer. Philosopher. Idiot.
Join the orange-headed one as he travels the world and discovers its wonders...
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Gervais and Steve Merchant love to paint Karl Pilkington as someone who is a bit thick. However, this is far from the case; he may be depressing, gloomy and a bit odd, but there is a quick humour and spark that underpins his personality. More than ever this comes through in his travel diaries. Most people would jump at the chance to visit the seven modern wonders of the world, but Karl is nonplussed, being more interested in the toilet situation and food than anything else. Rather than being tiring this is actually one of the most genuine travel books I have ever read. I'm the type of person who has seen the Queen and visited the Grand Canyon and been pretty underwhelmed by both. Pilkington represents an unmentioned clan of people that just want to be left alone to do their own thing and not be forced into `enjoying' themselves.
`An Idiot Abroad' is well written and full of very amusing moments from the antics Karl gets up to, but also from the wry humour. There are some photos in the book that are black and white on the Kindle version, but come out crystal clear. This is one of the funniest and most truthful books I have read in a long time. I may be no more a fan of Gervais, but put me down as a Pilkington man.
This was one of the funniest books I'd read and to quote one reviewer (and sorry Hans, I've just stolen a paragraph from your review hope you don't mind :-) as it describes me almost to a "t". ""The appeal of Karl is not merely that he says stupid things, or that his concerns are petty - anyone could do that - it is that there is some semblance of logic in his thinking, and, personally at least, it mirrors a part of myself. The part of me that is more concerned with immediate comforts than new experiences, and is underwhelmed by things that I have been told I should find spectacular. Karl takes these feelings and runs with them to their absurd conclusions, so that a book about the wonders of the world spends much of the time detailing toilet concerns"".
As an aside, I have just watched an episode on the TV where he was sent to Brazil, visually the appeal wasn't quite there for me but please buy the book and weep it's so worth it.
The moaning Manc is still talking about his various body parts as if they're individual to him: "me legs get tired before the rest of me body does" and "me brain was stressing me out - it knows I don't like it so why does it do that?". And of course he's still being picked on by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, this time from afar, as they send him into the world to see the Seven Wonders and throw obstacles in his path. When he goes to Israel he's kidnapped and held captive except Karl doesn't know it's not for real, it's training. When he goes to China he's made to fight trained Shaolin experts and when he visits Mexico he's put in the ring with other Lucha Libre wrestlers. And of course wherever he goes he's challenged to eat the local delicacies involving animal parts like eyes, brains, as well as various bugs.
Karl handles it as best he can but as a reader you're always rooting for him, he's just too likeable. His no-nonsense approach to life coupled with his strange outlook and way of seeing the world are what has made him so famous, and if you're a fan (a KP nut) of his previous books and recordings, you'll enjoy seeing Karl deal with these odd situations and places in his own unique way. "An Idiot Abroad" is a great read and had me laughing throughout, the only thing missing was Monkey News. Karl really is a national treasure and should be titled the Eighth Wonder of the World.
I bought this book after watching the TV series, but it is well worth the extra. There is a lot of ground covered in the book that did not make it to screen. You also get Karl's added insights on things that did occur on screen - many of these thoughts you could see almost written on his face during filming, the book merely confirms them.
It's easy to poke fun at the Little Englander as Ricky and Steve do throughout. But if we are all being honest, there is probably a little bit of the Karl Pilkington in all of us.
Any man who takes Monster Munch and Twix abroad with him in case he doesn't like the food is alright by me! I am more of a mini cheddars man myself, less space in the suitcase for more snack product, there is a little tip for you Karl.
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