Christopher S. reviewed Smile When You're Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer on
Helpful Score: 1
After seeing the two other "reviews" posted about this book, I thought I'd put something up that was more positive, because, well, I really did like the book.
For me, when I read a review of anything--restaurant, book, movie-- I do so, not because I actually care what the reviewer thinks about said product, but to try and get an idea about whether or not I will like the discussed material. Seems simple, right? A negative review can be as appealing to me as a positive one, obviously if what the reviewer hates is the very thing I love and am looking for.
I swear. I even think I swear too much, so take this with a grain of salt, but I didn't really notice the crude language or over use of drug references. Yes, they are there, but for anyone who has spent any amount of time wandering the internet or outside the basement of one's church social, it isn't gratuitous. This, perhaps, just reveals that I'm a chronologically middle-aged man who, unsurprisingly has a high-school boy's maturity.
The point of the book, as clearly stated in the sub-title, is that you aren't going to get the usual travel fare put out for consumption by the travel review business. For once, I am happy to say, the contents don't fail to live up to the hint of the title. You may be someone who wants and enjoys the beautiful, lavish descriptions generally offered up by the industry. I admit, I like it on occasion as well, but if that's what you're looking for, this is not it.
This book contains the stories, complaints, truths (of this particular author), that you aren't going to find on the newstand or in-flight magazine. If you may be interested in that, you just may enjoy this book.
And as an English professor pointed out to me about great literature, just because you don't like something doesn't mean it isn't great, and just because you like something doesn't mean it's good. It's okay to not enjoy a book or music or destination, though it still might be a masterpiece or perfectly memorable experience. You can also not feel too guilty about taking some pleasure in your occasional McDonald's, B-movie or smut magazine. Just try and be honest with yourself about what is going on. While I don't hold this up as 'great', the writing is competent and done well, whether or not you can tolerate swear words or conversation about Thai prostitutes. Which is more than I can say for, as the author points out, the dregs of over-used, hackneyed expressions and identical opinions that pass for real reviews these days.
Let me say, before I end, that I think the other reviews are totally legitimate, I'm not disparaging the opinion expressed, just wanted to offer up a different opinion.