These two travel diaries are hilarious and after reading them back to back I saw no reason they couldn’t have a joint review.
Whilst I believe you would get a chuckle out of them either way, I would recommend having some prior knowledge of Karl Pilkingtons moaning but loveable persona to get maximum LOL-value out of these books.
If you haven’t seen it already, grab a copy of the An Idiot Abroad series asap or YouTube some Karl vids and then come back to me. He is truly one of my favorite people to watch. Amazing one-liners aside, his simple way of viewing things often lead to some absolutely brilliant theories and ideas. Having regular appearances from mate Ricky Gervais certainly doesn’t hurt the laugh-factor either.
Basically the mis-matched friends, along with Stephen Merchant, collab over two
series to send Karl on overseas adventures that he has never experienced before. Most amusing moments come from surprises that Ricky and Steve throw in that they are well aware will put Karl very much out of his comfort zone. Well worth a watch!
Anyway, this isn’t a TV show review. Back to what I was here for…
The first travel diary ‘An Idiot Abroad‘ is written by Karl on a day-to-day basis as he travels to see the Seven Wonders. The chapters are divided up in to the trip to each Wonder as well as the twists and turns along the way.
Karl’s views are always a very raw – and most of the time un-glamorous – and very different to your normal travel novel. He struggles with differences in cultures like why there are no toilet doors in China, why there is a Pizza Hut situated just meters from the great pyramids and fitting in to the very free and flamboyant lifestyle in Brazil.
Never one to shy away he gives everything (okay ALMOST everything) a go and sometimes surprises with which experiences he notes as his favourites. He is very quick to say though that on every single trip his favorite part is never the Wonder.
‘The Further Adventures of An Idiot Abroad‘ is written a little different to the first. After an unfortunate incident with some medical gel and an eye Karl thinks that perhaps he is not in the best frame of mind to write whilst on the road, so instead completes this journal once he returns home.
This second set of trips is based around the bucket list. A compiled list of the most popular ‘bucket list’ activities that Karl must pick from. Less than enthusiastic about most options, he still trecks along to participate in every surprise that comes his way – except for bungee jumping, which he seems to run in to at every turn.
He also slips in his insights and thoughts on items on the list he didn’t choose – on all 100 in fact – and while a lot of the time people are quick to call Karl daft, I tend to agree with a lot of the points he makes on this journey. Particularly that he thinks, for the most part, becoming ‘special’ ruined what was originally special about a lot of these activities.
One of the best parts of these books is that you unintentionally read them in Karl’s voice and tone, which just makes them even more enjoyable than they already are. You will find yourself accidentally laughing out loud many times during these stories (just a warning that this may lead to some strange looks in public).
Are you also an avid Karl fan like me? Let me know what you think….