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The Sex Lives of Cannibals : Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
The Sex Lives of Cannibals Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific Author:J. Maarten Troost The laugh-out-loud true story of a harrowing and hilarious two-year odyssey in the distant South Pacific island nation of Kiribati—possibly The Worst Place on Earth. — — At the age of twenty-six, Maarten Troost—who had been pushing the snooze button on the alarm clock of life by racking up useless graduate degrees and muddling ... more »through a series of temp jobs—decided to pack up his flip-flops and move to Tarawa, a remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati. He was restless and lacked direction, and the idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic. He should have known better.
The Sex Lives of Cannibals tells the hilarious story of what happens when Troost discovers that Tarawa is not the island paradise he dreamed of. Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles through relentless, stifling heat, a variety of deadly bacteria, polluted seas, toxic fish—all in a country where the only music to be heard for miles around is “La Macarena.” He and his stalwart girlfriend Sylvia spend the next two years battling incompetent government officials, alarmingly large critters, erratic electricity, and a paucity of food options (including the Great Beer Crisis); and contending with a bizarre cast of local characters, including “Half-Dead Fred” and the self-proclaimed Poet Laureate of Tarawa (a British drunkard who’s never written a poem in his life).
With The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Maarten Troost has delivered one of the most original, rip-roaringly funny travelogues in years—one that will leave you thankful for staples of American civilization such as coffee, regular showers, and tabloid news, and that will provide the ultimate vicarious adventure.« less
I found this book both hilarious and disturbing. It starts off rather dull and self-indulgent on the part of the author but it actually picks up pace with some dark laugh-out-loud humor. Some may enjoy it as I did, others (like my husband) will not be able to get beyond the first dull chapters.
Marci S. (MarciNYC) reviewed The Sex Lives of Cannibals : Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific on
Helpful Score: 6
Maybe it's just me, but this book seems to be one constant whinge after another by Troost of how Kiribati is a crappy (no pun intended) place to live. The food sucks, it's hot and he's tortured by an endless loop of "La Macarena." I expected to find a laugh or two, but I'm still waiting.
I must add while I didn't find this book all that funny, it does make you appreciate how lucky we are in our country with all the resources at our fingertips. There are lessons to be learnt here.
This is quite a funny laugh out loud kind of book. Sometimes you have to pay close attention because Troost will veer off the main subject but his antidotes are well worth the path that he is taking you down.
When Troost and his girlfriend Sylvia find themselves with an education but no real job skills they apply for and are offered a government type of job on the Pacific atoll of Tarawa. This coral reef that is basically in the middle of no where is only the beginning of their troubles. Exactly how does one pack for a trip to an equatorial sandbar? Needless to say they were quite ill prepared for their lodgings, food and what the locals use as toilet facilities. Ok, that part was really funny.
As Troost sets out to write the great American novel real life and death takes over and the reader is scurrying to find out what Troost and Sylvia will get themselves into next. With a great cast of characters and a wonder command of storytelling Troost is a writer to follow.
Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas) was an unknown place to me before I listened to this book. Just getting there was an adventure, with pigs on the runway and museum-quality airplanes. Once there, the culture shock hits on so many fronts.
While the beginning of the book lagged a bit for me, starting off in North America with Troost dodging a financial responsibility of finding a job, I thoroughly enjoyed the other 4/5ths of the book set in Kiribati. The authors honest portrayal of the islanders in all their humor and endurance of island living was well rounded. I especially enjoyed the author trying to see things through Kiribati eyes how insane or rude or ignorant are the foreigners? The chapter dealing with the island dogs how they are seen more of as a nuisance and possible food source was a bit hard because of my cultural background, but was explained well by the author. Over all, this book is laced with humor and honesty of the authors experience of his time in Kiribati.