Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Land of Two Halves

I started out not really liking this one, but ended up with a weird admiration for the author's viewpoint by the end of it. First off, the title is "A Land of Two Halves: An Accidental Tour of New Zealand." Subtitle is a misnomer; Bennett specifically heads out to hitchhike around the two islands; nothing accidental about it. Unless that's referring to how he originally came to New Zealand (as a visitor who ended up staying); but that was years ago and shouldn't really apply... Anyway, slight digression there. As he starts out, it becomes clear that Bennett has a curmudgeonly attitude about tourism in his adopted country. He rails against the "puchased experience" offered by so many places in New Zealand - bungee jumping, jet boating, etc. - and offers hilarious descriptions of some of the tourists he sees waddling around. At first it seems negative, but after a whole book's worth of it, I find myself agreeing to some degree. That's not the whole book, of course - he spends a lot of his time noodling about the more rural parts of the country, hitching around and drinking with the locals. Reminds me of Bill Bryson's travel writing at times, including the straggling back to his hotel after a late night. I ended up liking his take on things, and may go on to read his newest book, Mustn't Grumble.

Book 26

1 comment:

Jax said...

I just recently proofed a self help book (of sorts) and the fact that her title didn't fit the content of her book (ok, well after the first two chapters anyway) annoyed me.

A title that doesn't fit feels a bit like non-proof in advertising!