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Posted February 24, 2014
When I picked up this book, I thought -- based on the title and
When I picked up this book, I thought -- based on the title and the words "journey across the Alaskan tundra" -- that it would be a very interesting read about traveling through Alaska and the encounters with the state's residents and wildlife, possibly some sled-dogging and some hunting or fishing. Wow. Was I ever surprised, and not pleasantly. Sam Neumann tells you quite often in the book that he is an @$$hole and he is absolutely right. He is the whiniest, laziest person to ever take a summer job. He has no work ethic and finds being rude to customers, hiding out on top of a cooler, or napping in a back room to be the best way to get through a work day. He is sophomoric and juvenile and he thinks he is absolutely hilarious beyond belief (he's not.) And he drinks. Ooooohhhh does he drink. Instead of a delightful travelogue about hiking though Alaska, he tells you how much he drank and the places he went specifically to drink. Oh, and he wastes almost a whole chapter on professional sports drafts, most intensively the NBA draft. He wastes another half-chapter on grammar lessons, and a few more worthless pages on defecation. When he DOES manage to get out into the Alaskan wilds, he is woefully unprepared (because he's too cheap to properly dress and pack for camping in the wild) and spends most of the time there drunk out of his mind. It's a wonder he remembered most of what he did during his summer tenure at Denali. Throughout the course of the book, he manages to insult nearly every single class of person on the planet. I found his rantings on the "old people" who traveled to Alaska to be mildly ironic. He's accusing them of being too old to enjoy the many things the state has to offer and of not experiencing the state's grandeur outside of riding a tour bus or hopping on a cruise ship. Sadly, the same could be said of Mr. Neumann himself. He spent so much time drunk or complaining about his job to enjoy his summer, and when he did travel around the state it was in a drunken fog, looking to become even more iniebriated. Lots of room to talk, there, Neumann.
While this definitely wasn't the WORST book I ever read, it was close to it. I spent 745 pages wanting to smack Mr. Neumann upside the head with a brick. What really surprised me is that this book was a NY Times bestseller. Wow. A lot of people were desperate for a read, apparently.
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Posted February 5, 2014
Witty? No. Boring? Yes.
The writing is amateurish, could have been written by a sixth grader. It's great to read in bed if you suffer from insomnia--it puts me right to sleep.
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