When Gary Buslik emailed me with a request to review his travel book, I thought, “Oh no, here’s another poorly written book from someone who thinks that they’re a travel writer. I mean, just look at the book title. A week later, I met Gary in person at the Travel Blog Exchange conference in Chicago. It turns out that he is a real travel writer as well as a creative writing teacher at the University of Illinois. And, he’s really funny. How could I turn down his heartfelt pleas, with humorous jokes thrown in for good measure? I’m such a softy.
A bout with pneumonia combined with a hectic blogging schedule kept me from reading Gary’s book last summer. Besides, who wants to read a book written by a rotten person or some man who’s grumpy about traveling in the Caribbean? But I did owe Gary a review. So, I packed the book in my luggage to read during a Vancouver to Singapore cruise last fall. However, the action-packed cruise itinerary left little time for reading, especially when I was busy tweeting and posting on Facebook about my adventures. I finally opened the pages of the book on the JAL return flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles.
Why did I wait until the middle of the night on a trans-Pacific flight to read this book? I literally had to place a hand over my mouth to keep from guffawing out loud. The JAL flight attendant gave me a curious look as she softly walked up and down the aisle checking on sleeping passengers.
The book is a compilation of Gary’s travel columns—mostly cynical, slightly off-color, funny stories about a lifetime (OK, maybe only 20 years but Gary makes it seem like a lifetime) of traveling the Caribbean with his wife. But if you look deeper, you’ll see a true knowledge and appreciation for the area. In Papa’s Ghost on page 102, Gary lifts the curtain of humor to reveal a poignant visit to Hemingway’s haunts in Cuba. But mostly, the book is funny right up until the last story, Where Satan Works. I hope Gary writes another book because the world could use more laughs.
Disclosure: Gary Buslik provided the copy of A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean for me to read, but he did not pay me to write this post. I have included an Amazon link for your convenience. However My Itchy Travel Feet does receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.
Would you like to win a copy of A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean? Post a comment telling me why and you’ll be entered to win an autographed copy of the book, thanks to Gary Buslik. Please include your email for contact purposes. Contest ends on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 11:00 p.m. Arizona Mountain Standard Time. Winner will be announced as soon as possible. Remember, according to my general contest rules, the winner must be a U.S. resident and respond within 48 hours of receiving the notification email; or I chose another winner.
UPDATE: January 27, 2010. This contest has expired. As soon as the winner acknowledges receipt of my email, I’ll make the announcement.