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on 31 December 2017
This rare book takes you on a mental trip into Central and South America, accompanied by the most charming guide, the musician Jimmy Buffett, who sang that classic "Come Monday" and other hits. He interposes scraps of memory into the travelogue. Couldn't put it down, and don't want to part with it.
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on 18 August 1999
I am not a major Jimmy Buffett, the musician, fan by any means...sure I like to listen to his music and live his words and rythyms for awhile, but my main passion is reading. I read his first book Tales From Margaritaville and I can say that I liked it. But in comparison, A Pirate Looks At Fifty is much better. I would read it late into the night and be able to transport myself into the cockpit, co-piloting the famed Hemisphere Dancer (his Albatross) away to an island vacation filled with the opportunities of fishing, surfing, and soaking up the sun of the Carribean and South America. I would recommend this book to anyone, fifty or not ( I myself am twenty-eight) who wishes to see through the eyes of an entertainer who can fly, fish, and bring a carefree smile to just about anyones face and for a short while, live his adventures.
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on 24 June 1998
I am a full-fledged Parrothead with an interest in fishing and aviation. Given that, I found 'A Pirate Looks at 50' quite entertaining. However, if you are looking for a lot of new, revealing personal information from Buffett, don't look here. The idea of taking a trip around the Caribbean with the Buffett family seems exciting, yet he is only somewhat successful in relaying to the reader his enthusiasm for the journey. What i found most disturbing was Jimmy's obvious hypocrisy surrounding the corporate commercialism that he sees as evil, and all consuming. He preaches in his music and in this book against the negative influences of overadvertising and overdevelopment, yet he speaks happily about greasing the palms of customs agents with Margaritaville t-shirts and cds from his 'swag box'. You can't miss hundreds of references to 'Sony cd players', 'Borders bookstores', and too many other name brand items to list. All in all the book seems to be the embodiment of the evil corporate world he claims to detest. In the end, this book is a must-read for parrotheads, aging ex-hippies, and anyone with an interest in flying or fly-fishing. If you want any real substance, try Steve Eng's 'Jimmy Buffett- The Man from Margaritaville.' 'A Pirate Looks at Fifty' is not the the in-depth autobiography all Parrotheads have been longing for.
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on 28 January 1999
I can't tell you how much I truely loved "Where is Joe Merchant?" and "Tales from Margaritaville". Those were two of my most enjoyable reads. They rank right up there with The Master, Carl Hiaasen. I really wish that I could say the same about this effort or lack there of. I guess it just wasn't what I expected. It was like Jimmy just wanted to try his hand at published memoirs. Or maybe his publishing company was breathing down his throat to get a new book out. This read like a drawn out narrative on fly fishing, flying, and how lousy his Spanish is. I couldn't wait to finish it so that I could crack a great book like "Don't Stop The Carnival" by Herman Wouk, which I read at Jimmy's recommendation. Thanks Jimmy, I loved it! If anything good came out of this book I guess that was it. Stick to fiction Jimmy. You are a great storyteller but not here. Remember what Mark Twain said: Write about what you know. I look forward to "Where is Joe Merchant Now", or "Tales From Margaritaville 2000" or something like that. Anything but "A pirate looks at 60".
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on 26 February 1999
It is with some sadness that I write this review. My wife bought this book for me to help celebrate my 40th. Knowing I have always enjoyed living vicariously through the words of the true poet-laureate of the lesser Antilles, she was as excited in presenting the book to me as I was in receiving it. Disappointed is not a strong enough sentiment.
The book falls far short of all objectives, stated or implied. It fails as a travelogue in the "Following the Equator" tradition lauded by the author (I love ya, man, but M.T. did it right - less "him" and more "where").
It comes as close to the juicy and captivating autobiography Buffett has the facts and faculties to pen as the Hemisphere Dancer came to logging water landings.
Fly-fishing seemed a fascinating pastime, until this book destroyed all latent desire.
And as a professional pilot with a wet compass stuck on "S" (and a little cherished Widgeon time), I read Buffett's aviation narratives to be more bragging fodder than meaningful, seasoned experience. Beware big brother and certificate actions, my man.
All of what put Buffett in the hearts of we wanderlusts everywhere was abandoned (in this tome) in favor of a repetitive, trivial and dragging act of self-aggrandizement. It is hard to reconcile the free concerts in Florida I attended years ago with his current "rubbing elbows with the stars" attitude (talk about "Changes in the [same]").
You are better than this, Mr. Buffett. Get back to the Caribbean soul we all know to be more interested in the "people, places and Caldwoods Rum" than the lifestyles of the rich and famous B.S. this book turned into. Tap back into that humility that gave your writing (poetry and prose) such an honest and frank appeal, and which this book conveyed so little of. Losing your perspective? I know - we know - because your fans still harbor those dreams. You can live it for us, we've always asked you to, but don't patronize, don't sensationalize, don't rub it in our face. You deserve your toys, your entourage, our envy, but discretion is the better part....you know.
You once wrote, "Fiction over fact always gets my vote." Hold that thought and go from there.
My endless fascination with the lower latitudes gave the book 2 stars. Buffett's knowledge of the Caribbean never ceases to invoke envy, and this book demonstrated that almost carnal intimacy. That it encompassed airplanes, the water and the tropics held my interest, but it was soon relegated to short reads during bathroom breaks.
Look forward to reading your next book - one that does your rich heritage justice.
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on 8 July 1998
As a long-time fan of Jimmy Buffet's songs I hoped that this read would provide entertainment and enlightenment regarding his sources of material as well as some idea of what to look for in the future. I was sorely disappointed. While there are a few humorous situations, there's a lot more of Buffet talking about just how much fun he is and how he has never grown up---as if he's trying to convince himself. He goes into excrutiating detail on matters I considered to be drivel and is given to high melodrama in many instances ( I still cannot figure out what was so terrifying about Barranquilla). The book rambles and, while an easy read, I had difficulty staying interested in it. As with most autobiographies, this one is a lot of self-love by the author, and after a while I got a bit tired of Buffet acting as if he were the only guy to have ever grown up near the water and to have loved a beach. His manner of travelling ( "handlers" meet him in most every port) is that of the superstar and is actually pretty boring.There is a tremendous amount of name-dropping , of both people and products.He tries hard to be convince himself that he is still a kid, has had a ball in life, and is really enjoying this trip ( which seems kind of pointless as he wanders around in his plane missing a lot of ports because there's supposedly no time though he rambles on about his gypsy lifestyle). All in all, I would have expected something better from a guy who has the ability to write such great lyrics.
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on 27 June 1998
I received Jimmy's birthday account on my birthday, just a few days ago. I sat down to initially read a chapter or two and then place the book on my ever-growing stack of material "to be read" once I get a spare moment.
Well, that was it. Everything else shifted one space to the right as I continued to read and read this tale.
While his music is timeless, Buffett is not. This book verifies that Buffett has been doing what we all have been doing: changing and adapting. How sad it would be to learn that Buffett still spends all of his time smoking pot and sailing off the coast of Florida!
This is not an autobiography, and I was so glad of it. Who really cares about every aspect of a person's life? Instead, this book communicates something much more important: Despite what your watch or calendar says, you're never too old to live a great, happy, full life. Of course, we all might not have Buffett's resources, but we are all not going on Buffett's journey either.
I agree with some of the commercialization comments in previous reviews, but so what. If I am not mistaken, Buffett is not a non-profit agency. It is a free country boys and girls.
After reading about Buffett's Albatross adventures, I was reminded of my own long overdue desire to learn how to fly. Thus, I announced to my wife that I was about to take flying lessons at a local, small airport. I won't be going to South America. Instead, I'll follow my own path.
Thanks Jimmy. Keep the verse coming!
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on 5 October 1998
Long overdue, but well worth the wait, this auto-biographical journey can't help but grab the reader and bring him or her along. As a fan of Jimmy Buffett, it was a welcome change to have some of his experiences and adventures written and commented on by him, and not an outside, opinionated individual. The chapters are short, which makes fitting one in during little breaks in your daily schedule easy to do. Even without singing his signature "escapism" music, Jimmy has found a way to take you "away form it all". He has a friendly, infectuous writing style that makes you feel as if you are aboard his plane, listening to him tell you a bit of history of how he got to where he is now. I am not big fishing fan, in fact, I do not enjoy fishing at all. Jimmy, however discusses his fishing trips throughout the book. On several occasions, I felt as if I was there on the boat, watching it all unfold...and I was enjoying myself! Though he gives only the information and insight he wants the reader to have, it was enough for the fans to understand where he was and what his mind was on during certain points of his recording career. Now, some songs I have loved for years take on additional depth because I know a bit of what was behind some lyrical and musical changes. Jimmy's sense of humor plays a big part in this book. He has fun, and takes his fun seriously. An enjoyable read, even for those who are not Buffet fans. Now...if Jimmy could just write a follow up to "Where Is Joe Merchant?", so I could find out what the heck happens...
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on 4 September 1998
Jimmy Buffet's prior works were interesting reads, however, his current book seems to be mostly a self-serving endeavor, a last memoir for the kids and grandkids, a published daily diary, complete with the most dreary of details, important to only close friends and family and lacking all the important and titallating details and circumstances a reader would expect. Jimmy writes like he's a common man, just one of the boy's, and then, wham! he's talking about the "girls" taking his jet on vacation and the "boy's" riding his float plane, because the girls don't like the slow, bumpy ride. So immediately, the reader is thinking, I'm about to see how the other side really lives, how I'd like to live if I only had the money and the guts to take off and about halfway through the book you realize, he lives just like us, same day to day bull, and you're thinking that your own personal 500 word essay of what you did last summer would have been just as interesting (to you anyway). (At least then we wouldn't have to suffer through the agonizing details of his flights which turned out to be nothing more than disappointments to the author as well as the reader). As a matter of fact, the reader of more than average means will feel somewhat sorry for this man and his family because his means and toy's merely complicate his life instead of improving it. Alas, if you bought the book because of the title, and not just because you were familiar with the author, you will be even more deeply disappointed (there are no deep revelations, only questions). Finally, Buffet's quotes from other literature is overworked, it was a stretch to believe he has read or even knows of the authors he so liberally regurgitated. (Although, there is a poem included that made the entire book worthwhile) Unfortunately, this work reeks of a large advance and looming deadline. (Whether true or not) So, although there were some bright spots, unless you're into Buffet, planes and piloting, the book will most likely "Leave You Wanting".
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on 3 November 1998
I read a lot of the reviews -both the positive and the negative-and I agree with both! If you are interested in Jimmy Buffett, as the man buy the book. If you are interested in an epic Joe Merchant, type novel don't. Be forewarned: if you want to keep your mental image of him then don't read it. It will change your opinion forever. I have always wondered about what kind of person Jimmy, really was, and if his music and books reflected his real life. His book is an excellent journal on his life and how he got to where he is now.
The down side of the book is that he is too good at detailing every detail of his life -even to the extent that he describes his affinity for drugs. You may not appreciate this, but then again you might. His details seem to drone on for pages that will leave you wondering if he is just trying to fill pages to meet a deadline so that he can get the balance of the advance for the book.
One the positive side, it shows a side of him that I never expected. He is sensitive and a very intelligent person. I would have thought that after all the years on the road with the drugs he would be dull as a rock toward anything other than rock music. (What a stereotype!)
The only lasting thought I had after reading the book was that how in the hell is he going to pay for this new life style if his creativity runs out -as it did in this book. I mean , a Cessna Citation and a seaplane and living in Palm beach, FL and a horde of people living off him in one fashion or another cost. I can't imagine having to bring friends along for myself and my wife so that we would have someone to pal around with! But then I'm just another working class dog wishing to hell I was him.
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