The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific

A friend recommended this book to me a few years ago. And, immediately, I was turned off,  simply because of the title. But they, he proceeded to tell me about the plot: a guy and his girlfriend movie to a tiny, barely inhabited island in the Pacific and try to survive for a few years. What all this has to do with sex lives and cannibals, even after reading the book, I still have no idea. However, don’t judge this book by the title. It is entirely worth reading.

Maarten and his girlfriend, Sylvia, move to Tarawa, which is near the equator, nearly a third world country where water must be boiled before drinking, where people (literally) shit in the ocean only to have it washed back up to shore, where dogs are such a nuisance that they are either eaten or aren’t even braked for when driving, where fish is eaten at every meal, where canned goods are flown in, sporadically, from Australia, where this is no hospital or medicine, and where the live expectancy is just over 50 years old. So, yea. Given all that, this book is really funny. Maarten’s experience, harrowing and hilarious, is not one I would ever embark on. Ever. But I’m glad he did, and survived, to tell us this story. And, of course, in the back of your mind, you will realize just how wonderful we have it with food, water, medicine, and shit free oceans.

He has written other books about his travel, but my friend says this is his best work. Between vignettes of his situation, he tells us about the history of the island and its surrounding neighbors. This was much less interesting to me, but for no reason other than I’m just not interested in it. It was still well researched and well written. I wasn’t expecting much from this book, but I’m very glad I picked it up.

The Accidental Tourist

A friend recommended this book ages ago and has been hounding me ever since. Honestly, I knew it was a movie, but had no idea it was a book. And to meet my “book from a library” category, I used this one. Granted, it was an ebook, but I still checked it out, so it counts.

I really don’t understand what’s great about this one. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. The main character, Macon, has lost a lot. His son died, his wife left, he broke his leg, his house has flooded, and his dog is attacking people. In walks, Muriel, the dog trainer, who might be the most annoying character ever. Okay, hyperbolic, but still! I just couldn’t understand why anyone would want to be with her. Macon lives with his sister, temporarily, who is just as bad. The family is just so set in their ways that nothing can alter their routine. And even though Muriel does just that, Macon is such a flat, dry character that we never really learn whether or not he appreciates Muriel’s craziness.

Unfortunately, the next book I have from the library is another book by this same author, completely by coincidence. It’s the only book with my profession that I could find and that wasn’t a “how-to” manual about being a mother. I’m not looking forward to it, now. But maybe it will be better than this one. Fingers crossed.