A gripping adventure that takes the listener on a backpacking trip through South East Asia.
John’s trip to India starts badly when he finds himself looking at the sharp end of a knife in a train station cubicle. His life is saved by the enigmatic Rick, who persuades John to abandon his mundane plans for the future for much, much more.
Fast forward to the Thai island of Koh Pha-Ngan, where they pose as millionaire aristocrats in a hedonistic Eden of beautiful girls, free drugs, and wild beach parties. Soon pursued by the Thai Mafia, they escape to Indonesia, Australia, and Hong Kong, facing danger at every turn.
I listened to the entire first half of this book and it just never grabbed me. I just got bored. Too bad really because I love the setting, and The Beach is one of my favorite books. Things happen occasionally, but more often the story is filled with long accounts of not especially exciting train rides, pointless conversations between characters who you are not certain are relevant to the story, and inexplicable decisions on the part of the main character.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from John Harris and/or Tom Lawrence?
The narrator Tom Lawrence was very good, I would easily listen to another performance. The author John Harris is better at fiction/semi-fiction than reality.
What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)
The book is a retelling of a story in that age old pub fashion/fishing story. A small little adventure blossomed into a grand story with the retelling. The teller may think it really happened that way but the reality is likely much more sedate. Much like James Frey and his "A Million Little Pieces", there is a lot of embellishment in a story branded as non-fiction. It is an entertaining read though, just not true to the non fiction travel genre.
What does Tom Lawrence bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Its an all around great performance. His voice matched the mental picture of the protagonist in the story. He is properly emphatic when the story calls for it.
I am not sure if everything is true (I would love to read more interviews from the author), but John Harris is a very descriptive and entertaining writer, that really captures your attention and will bring about a urning for travel and exploration. I will add that his moral compass is not always in check, but at least he seems to realize it! Also, the reader does a fantastic job of sounding different with each character and making the book come alive.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
A bit tiresome this book, learnt nothing about the interesting countries/culture, just fairly far fetched stories about 'lads abroad' behaving badly.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I’ve read lots of travel memoirs before by ‘adventurers’ or hikers taking things seriously so this was completely different from the start.
I wondered if it would be typical stories about full moon parties and clubs but it turned out to be so compelling and an almost unbelievable story with lots of twists and turns, countries and situations I never predicted!
Decent length, plot doesn't die in itself and get dull. Perfect for an explorer at heart.
thoroughly enjoyable insight and we'll performed didn't expect to like this book but was very pleasantly surprised.
Starts of ok then gets progressively worse in a trail of outrageous lies written in a juvenile fashion under the guise of a selfish immature idiot.
I've bailed out 5 hours before the end as I very much doubt much if any is true. What a waste of money any time : (
What disappointed you about The Backpacker?
I wasn't after war&peace but the story was a bit shallow...no real depth to characters, just a series of events.
What could John Harris have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
Did Tom Lawrence do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?
Good job with the delivery, and the voices for the different characters
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Backpacker?
Any additional comments?
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes would recommend as it was a fast moving entertaining story.
What other book might you compare The Backpacker to, and why?
Not the usual genre I read, so cannot really compare but would recommend
What does Tom Lawrence bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
I like listening to books and Tom Lawrence read the book extremely well and I could really imagine where his character was.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I never listen to books in one sitting but there were times when I did not want to switch it off as I wanted to know what happened next.
I really enjoyed this book. It has everything, exotic cities, drugs, girls, sex, intrigue, deceit, friendship, sun drenched beaches, high seas adventure as well as exploitation, painful loss and new beginnings.
I felt very connected to all the main characters and lived their wonderment and pain with them.
Thoroughly recommend this book!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful