Bad Karma: Confessions of a Reckless Traveller in Southeast Asia

Overview

Sheward hits the road with her twenty-something chum, Elissa, and they head for Thailand, Laos and Cambodia with nary a plan. Sheward has a gift for writing humorous prose, with chapter titles such as "Smells Like Leprosy" amd "Subterranean Hoedown," and they find themselves in the most incredible situations. They meet these characters, like the Kip Kid and the Queen of Whatever, and a variety of stoned backpackers and slum runners, in what turns out to be a series of absurd and funny misadventures. Sheward is ...
See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $8.97   
  • Used (13) from $1.99   

Overview

Sheward hits the road with her twenty-something chum, Elissa, and they head for Thailand, Laos and Cambodia with nary a plan. Sheward has a gift for writing humorous prose, with chapter titles such as "Smells Like Leprosy" amd "Subterranean Hoedown," and they find themselves in the most incredible situations. They meet these characters, like the Kip Kid and the Queen of Whatever, and a variety of stoned backpackers and slum runners, in what turns out to be a series of absurd and funny misadventures. Sheward is our guide on a wayward journey through the underbelly of Southeast Asia, so often bypassed by traditional travel writers.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Sheward’s writing is fast and furious. A roller coaster off the rails, with beers.”—Adventure Travel Magazine

 

“The girls make a delightful comic duo. Sheward’s prose is superb.”

Backpacker Magazine

 

“Wild-child writer Tamara Sheward, whose adventures are recounted in a humorous collection of politically-incorrect tales of Asian drug dealers and stoned backpackers . . . is irrepressible.”—Sydney Morning Herald

 

Publishers Weekly

Beer-swilling Aussie backpacker Sheward and her best mate, El, set off on a jejune journey across Southeast Asia with the agenda of "having a look and annoying the world." The dyspeptic duo succeed at both dubious goals, screaming at the locals and belittling other travelers as they barrel along an unplanned, madcap tour of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. They omit no traveling cliché (right down to overcharging cabbies and a stolen camera) and pass up no opportunity to misconstrue or poke fun at local religions and culture. Sheward's writing lacks the satirical prowess that would make the self-absorbed duo more likable, though occasional hiccups of elegant prose help to balance the contradicting metaphors and near-endless whining. A reader who manages to hang on to this freewheeling bitchfest to the end will get the paltry reward of watching Sheward and El swallow an overdue dose of humility on a trip to Cambodia's Killing Fields, at last gaining some insight-however self-serving-from their disorganized travels. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Some travel books are about people and places, and some are about the traveler. Published in Australia in 2003, this outrageous tale by a first-time author is of the "all about me" variety. The tone is best summed up as snarky: Sheward, as narrator, is callow, sarcastic and brash. She and her traveling companion have great fun getting drunk, shouting obscenities, and, as she puts it, "annoying the world." This could have been an intrepid female travel tale spiced with slapstick humor, if only Sheward had actually done anything intrepid or even interesting. The writing does move the action along; but the action stripped of bravado is nothing but the usual low-budget scraping-by along a well-trodden tourist route. Most of the book is taken up not with Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia but unpleasant meals, even more unpleasant toilets, and furious confrontations with locals and tourists alike. Sheward lampoons New Age hippies and middle-class travelers, and reflects artlessly on the unfairness of war and exchange rates, all with no hint of awareness of her own position. Recommended only for larger collections of women's or travel writing.
—Lisa Klopfer

Kirkus Reviews
The author's recollections of an off-the-beaten-path vacation of sleazy situations. Australian native Sheward originally believed "Khmer Rouge was an oddly named cosmetic, Pol Pot simply the chorus in a Dead Kennedys song." She and best friend El picked their destination after meeting a stranger who advised that mainland Southeast Asia was the final frontier not overrun by foreigners. So the pals tramped across Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, leaving in their wake a trail of empty beer bottles, cigarette butts and maligned waitresses and Fanta vendors. Sheward spends 300-plus pages making fun of every English-speaking traveler they came across. She also depicts locals in the service and tourism industries as wildly unprofessional-though not all of them, mercifully, in quite as unflattering light as the obese female innkeeper in rural Thailand who allegedly refused the women a room after the author rebuffed her sexual advances. The friends avoided being wrongly arrested and serving time in a Bangkok prison a la Bridget Jones, but comparisons to chick lit are inevitable. Not that this book reads like a novel, but Sheward's version of events has clearly been exaggerated. Slogging through this farrago of absurdities is like watching a documentary projected onto a fun-house mirror. Truth seems secondary to Sheward's primary goal of entertaining readers. They're more likely to be put off by the sense of entitlement displayed when El spews vitriolic demands at a Pizza Hut server while her buddy laughs madly. First-time author Sheward writes energetic prose and displays a keen appreciation for inane details, but her fluffy book is basically a parade of politically incorrect anecdotes.Hilarious in flashes, but more often sloppy, off-putting and boring.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780897335652
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporate
  • Publication date: 11/1/2007
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Tamara Sheward has worked as a toy spider salesperson, Guinness packer, slum lord’s subordinate, quizmaster and occasional journalist. She lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 29, 2009

    anyone who wants to go visit southeast asia should read this book

    this book was very entertaining, very fun and easy to read. I have always wanted to visit those places and now I am really ready to go. I think that anyone who wants to visit these places should read this book. I highly recomend this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2007

    Great karma!

    This book tells it like it is in the most amusing of ways. It definitely strays from the boring PC path (thank goodness!), but the thing that struck me was Sheward's sharp writing: she mocks herself and the other backpackers in a way that'll ring true with anyone who's ever been travelling (especially backpacking), but still manages to respect the locals. It's twisted and crazy and has some off-the-wall tangents, but this and her eye for detail is what separates it from the boring, yeah-everything's-great type travelogues that are little more than sightseeing guides in the first person. Destined to be a cult classic!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)