Honeymoon with My Brother: A Memoir

( 85 )

Overview

This is the true story of Franz Wisner, a man who thought he had it all- a high profile career and the fiancée of his dreams- when suddenly, his life turned upside down. Just days before they were to be married, his fiancée called off the wedding. Luckily, his large support network of family and friends wouldn't let him succumb to his misery. They decided Franz should have a wedding and a honeymoon anyway- there just wouldn't be a bride at the ceremony, and Franz' travel ...

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Overview

This is the true story of Franz Wisner, a man who thought he had it all- a high profile career and the fiancée of his dreams- when suddenly, his life turned upside down. Just days before they were to be married, his fiancée called off the wedding. Luckily, his large support network of family and friends wouldn't let him succumb to his misery. They decided Franz should have a wedding and a honeymoon anyway- there just wouldn't be a bride at the ceremony, and Franz' travel companion would be his brother, Kurt.

During the "honeymoon," Franz reconnected with his brother and began to look at his life with newfound perspective. The brothers decided to leave their old lives behind them. They quit their jobs, sold all their possessions, and traveled around the world, visiting fifty-three countries for the next two years. In Honeymoon With My Brother, Franz recounts this remarkable journey, during which he turned his heartbreak into an opportunity to learn about himself, the world, and the brother he hardly knew.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Franz Wisner had his entire life mapped out before him. After he returning from his honeymoon with his new wife, he would resume his post as the vice president of a powerful real estate corporation. But then everything suddenly evaporated. Just days before the nuptials, his fiancée got cold feet; soon afterward, he received a crushing demotion at work. "Angry, embarrassed, overwhelmed, numbed and despondent," he nevertheless responded with astonishing aplomb. Though bereft of a bride, he went on with the wedding, "honeymooned" with his brother, and then, with sibling in tow, began a spontaneous "travel therapy" tour of 53 countries.
Publishers Weekly
This notable, upbeat memoir takes readers through an overwhelming romantic disaster to the author's eventual redemption and personal transformation. As the book opens, Wisner, then a v-p at a large corporation, arrives in a scenic California town to marry his fianc e. But she gets cold feet and decides to call the ceremony off, leaving Wisner "angry, embarrassed, overwhelmed, numbed and despondent." Compounding this personal crisis, Wisner is subsequently demoted by his company. So he chooses to go ahead with a mock wedding and honeymoon, sans bride, with his estranged younger brother filling in for her. The brothers visit 53 countries in two years, covering Russia, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and South America. Along the way, they see the sights and establish a new closeness and candor. Wisner's narrative style is occasionally comic, but he can be serious, too, especially with his descriptions of people and places, and with his telling analysis of the talks he and his brother engage in. The brothers' rekindled bond makes this memoir deeply moving. Agent, Kris Dahl. (Feb.) Forecast: An author tour and national broadcast and print publicity campaigns will support this book, which could appeal to fans of Sideways, the recent Alexander Payne film on a similar subject. In fact, Wisner's story is currently being adapted for film (Gold/Miller Productions at Sony/Columbia bought rights). Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Dumped days before his wedding, Wisner held the ceremony anyway and then took his brother on what would have been the honeymoon. They ended up traveling for two years through 53 countries. After that, the four-city author tour should be a cinch. Look for a movie from Sony. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312340841
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/7/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 366,056
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Franz Wisner

Franz Wisner is a writer/vagabond who, in a previous reincarnation, used to work as a lobbyist, a public relations executive, and a government press secretary. During his world journeys, he published numerous travel articles and opinion pieces, which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, ABC News on-line, and Coast Magazine, among others. Franz and his brother, Kurt, are currently traveling the globe for their next book, also with St. Martin's Press.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Amid the pine tree windbreaks and foamy Pacific shore, Sea Ranch, California, is a wonderful place to be dumped. The wild lilac and ill-tempered sea lions—they'll distract your attention for at least a few minutes after the woman of your dreams leaves you at the altar. That, and a h ell of a lot of booze.

My younger brother, Kurt, and I arrived early at the only dive bar in town, a place where the bartender would wince if he heard the words "mojito" or "caipirinha." We gave the bearded keep twenty dollars in advance to keep the drinks flowing. He put a few more beers in the cooler and promised to take special care of the group that would soon gather for the evening. It was going to be a long and interesting night.

The century-old Gualala Hotel greets visitors with white pillars and an Old West porch. Close your eves and imagine the thirsty cowboy tying his horse to the front rail. Open them and see tourists sitting around picnic tables in the dining room devouring family-size bowls of minestrone soup. The hotel's bar, with its knotty pine and boar-head decor, sits off the main entrance. It had one of those electric beer signs on the wall that morphed scenery from mountain to beach.

Kurt bought me a Budweiser and asked how I was doing. I didn't open up. I looked at his newly gray hair and thin face and realized I "couldn't" talk to him.

Growing up, the teenager's code of conduct prohibited me from associating with a brother two grade levels my junior. To impress my friends, I did everything I could to avoid him. He was happy to do the same. Since then, we saw each other only a handful of days a year. Usually around Christmas. Details of our lives were relayed through our mom. Neither of us took the initiative to do more.

I wanted to talk to Kurt. I needed to talk to Kurt, but I didn't know how. I felt an awkward paralysis, like a child who can't relate to his parents. I couldn't pull out the words. I remembered the days in the backseat of the light blue Ford station wagon. We could talk about anything back then—secret hiding places (always behind the built-in shelves in my room), optimal ways to torture our younger sister, Lisa (pin her down and pretend to spit), or that baseball card game I always seemed to lose; lay Tito Fuentes against the wall and try to knock him over from ten feet away with a Wilbur Wood or a Dusty Baker. Despite the distance between us, Kurt was still the first person I called after I learned, five days prior, my wedding was off.

I'd reached him on my cell phone as I sped up the 405 Freeway from my house in Newport Beach to my fiancee Annie's small, rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica with the industrial-strength carpet and refrigerator in need of a cleaning. I couldn't remember the last time I phoned him. Probably to relay some bad news, like the death of our grandfather. We'd grown apart during the last decade. Kurt sold real estate in Seattle while I pursued a political career in Washington, D.C., and California. He sounded surprised to hear my voice. I sensed he knew something must be wrong. I needed him like I'd never needed a brother before.

"What's up?" he said.

"Not much. Weather's nice. Played golf the other day. My wedding's off. Did I mention the weather?"

Silence.

"Serious?"

"Serious. I'm on my way up to Annie's to get dumped right now. Her brother Gerald just called me to tell me she's not going to be able to go through with it."

"Man, I'm sorry," he said in a hushed tone. "What the hell happened?"

"Long story. I'll tell you later."

"What are you going to do?"

"I have no idea. Everything's paid for. People have rented cabins for the weekend. Some folks from overseas are already en route. Nightmare."

"Hmm."

"I haven't even been dumped yet and the only thing I can think about are those hundred phone calls I'll need to make tomorrow."

"That, um, sucks."

"I hate to ask you this, but is there any way you could fly down here to give me a hand? I'll pay for your ticket."

"No problem." he said without hesitation. "And you don't need to pay for anything. I'll leave you a message on your answering machine with my flight info."

I talked to my mom briefly after that, telling her the wedding was about to crash. I'd spared her from the rapidly rising list of problems in the previous weeks, though I knew she sensed them. Delays on invitations and unworn wedding rings are red flags to moms.

"You have no choice," she tried to console me. "She's doing you a huge favor by telling you now as opposed to after the wedding. Franz, it's a blessing. You'll see that. It might be a while, but eventually you'll see that."

I knew my parents would be hugely supportive. They always were. At times, maddeningly so. That didn't stop me from feeling I'd failed. I knew I couldn't talk to my father yet without breaking down. I just kept thinking about the photo display shelves in their living room, the ones packed with shots of their wedding in Yuba City four decades before, sister Lisa and Doug's the previous year, dogs present and past, favorite babysitters, the photo of my great-grandfather during his years in China. There'd be no Sea Ranch shots. And I wondered how long it would take until my mom removed the ones with Annie.

Copyright 2005 by Franz Wisner

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First Chapter

CHAPTER ONE

Amid the pine tree windbreaks and foamy Pacific shore, Sea Ranch, California, is a wonderful place to be dumped. The wild lilac and ill-tempered sea lions--they'll distract your attention for at least a few minutes after the woman of your dreams leaves you at the altar. That, and a h ell of a lot of booze.

My younger brother, Kurt, and I arrived early at the only dive bar in town, a place where the bartender would wince if he heard the words "mojito" or "caipirinha." We gave the bearded keep twenty dollars in advance to keep the drinks flowing. He put a few more beers in the cooler and promised to take special care of the group that would soon gather for the evening. It was going to be a long and interesting night.

The century-old Gualala Hotel greets visitors with white pillars and an Old West porch. Close your eves and imagine the thirsty cowboy tying his horse to the front rail. Open them and see tourists sitting around picnic tables in the dining room devouring family-size bowls of minestrone soup. The hotel's bar, with its knotty pine and boar-head decor, sits off the main entrance. It had one of those electric beer signs on the wall that morphed scenery from mountain to beach.

Kurt bought me a Budweiser and asked how I was doing. I didn't open up. I looked at his newly gray hair and thin face and realized I "couldn't" talk to him.

Growing up, the teenager's code of conduct prohibited me from associating with a brother two grade levels my junior. To impress my friends, I did everything I could to avoid him. He was happy to do the same. Since then, we saw each other only a handful of days a year. Usually around Christmas.Details of our lives were relayed through our mom. Neither of us took the initiative to do more.

I wanted to talk to Kurt. I needed to talk to Kurt, but I didn't know how. I felt an awkward paralysis, like a child who can't relate to his parents. I couldn't pull out the words. I remembered the days in the backseat of the light blue Ford station wagon. We could talk about anything back then--secret hiding places (always behind the built-in shelves in my room), optimal ways to torture our younger sister, Lisa (pin her down and pretend to spit), or that baseball card game I always seemed to lose; lay Tito Fuentes against the wall and try to knock him over from ten feet away with a Wilbur Wood or a Dusty Baker. Despite the distance between us, Kurt was still the first person I called after I learned, five days prior, my wedding was off.

I'd reached him on my cell phone as I sped up the 405 Freeway from my house in Newport Beach to my fiancee Annie's small, rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica with the industrial-strength carpet and refrigerator in need of a cleaning. I couldn't remember the last time I phoned him. Probably to relay some bad news, like the death of our grandfather. We'd grown apart during the last decade. Kurt sold real estate in Seattle while I pursued a political career in Washington, D.C., and California. He sounded surprised to hear my voice. I sensed he knew something must be wrong. I needed him like I'd never needed a brother before.

"What's up?" he said.

"Not much. Weather's nice. Played golf the other day. My wedding's off. Did I mention the weather?"

Silence.

"Serious?"

"Serious. I'm on my way up to Annie's to get dumped right now. Her brother Gerald just called me to tell me she's not going to be able to go through with it."

"Man, I'm sorry," he said in a hushed tone. "What the hell happened?"

"Long story. I'll tell you later."

"What are you going to do?"

"I have no idea. Everything's paid for. People have rented cabins for the weekend. Some folks from overseas are already en route. Nightmare."

"Hmm."

"I haven't even been dumped yet and the only thing I can think about are those hundred phone calls I'll need to make tomorrow."

"That, um, sucks."

"I hate to ask you this, but is there any way you could fly down here to give me a hand? I'll pay for your ticket."

"No problem." he said without hesitation. "And you don't need to pay for anything. I'll leave you a message on your answering machine with my flight info."

I talked to my mom briefly after that, telling her the wedding was about to crash. I'd spared her from the rapidly rising list of problems in the previous weeks, though I knew she sensed them. Delays on invitations and unworn wedding rings are red flags to moms.

"You have no choice," she tried to console me. "She's doing you a huge favor by telling you now as opposed to after the wedding. Franz, it's a blessing. You'll see that. It might be a while, but eventually you'll see that."

I knew my parents would be hugely supportive. They always were. At times, maddeningly so. That didn't stop me from feeling I'd failed. I knew I couldn't talk to my father yet without breaking down. I just kept thinking about the photo display shelves in their living room, the ones packed with shots of their wedding in Yuba City four decades before, sister Lisa and Doug's the previous year, dogs present and past, favorite babysitters, the photo of my great-grandfather during his years in China. There'd be no Sea Ranch shots. And I wondered how long it would take until my mom removed the ones with Annie.


Copyright 2005 by Franz Wisner
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Reading Group Guide

This is the true story of Franz Wisner, a man who thought he had it all- a high profile career and the fiancée of his dreams- when suddenly, his life turned upside down. Just days before they were to be married, his fiancée called off the wedding. Luckily, his large support network of family and friends wouldn't let him succumb to his misery. They decided Franz should have a wedding and a honeymoon anyway- there just wouldn't be a bride at the ceremony, and Franz' travel companion would be his brother, Kurt.

 

During the "honeymoon," Franz reconnected with his brother and began to look at his life with newfound perspective. The brothers decided to leave their old lives behind them. They quit their jobs, sold all their possessions, and traveled around the world, visiting fifty-three countries for the next two years. In Honeymoon With My Brother, Franz recounts this remarkable journey, during which he turned his heartbreak into an opportunity to learn about himself, the world, and the brother he hardly knew.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 85 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(53)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 85 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2011

    Male Bonding

    This was an interesting look into a man's point of view after being "dumped" on his wedding day. It was heart warming to see the relationship with his brother grow from an older sibling into a "friend" who was the one he turned to for everything. The dream relationship with a sibling!!! At times it was difficult to read the "Frat Boy" attitude... My biggest complaint is that the proofreader did a terrible job! It is riddled with grammar & spelling mistakes.

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Wisner's Wisdom is Relevant and Story is Adorable

    After being left at the altar by his fiancee, Annie, Franz Wisner's optimistic spirit allows him to start rebuilding his life. But then he is demoted from his high power job at a real estate company and is devastated. The only thing that he still has is a prepaid honeymoon to Costa Rica. He sees this as a prime opportunity to reconnect with the helpful and supportive brother he had drifted from, Kurt. The two develop a plan in Costa Rica to quit their jobs (after Franz receives his sizable bonus), and embark on a two year long world tour to some of the globe's lesser know destinations. As the brothers reconnect and go on outrageous adventures, they are continuously sending postcards to their elderly step-grandmother LaRue and healing emotional wounds. This touching tale of two estranged brothers will stick with you and shape your global views.
    My favorite part of this story is the specific stories of the people Franz and Kurt encounter on their journey. From the world's worst taxi driver, Victor, to the beautiful, frustrated, and bright Deborah, I love feeling like I have met these diverse and memorable people by seeing a small snapshot of their lives. The way that Wisner describes how people outside of America live is fascinating to me.
    Wisner's theme of global connectedness and the benefits of broadening your horizons can be seen in his lessons about how to not be the "ugly American." He gives advice about going native and abandoning the guidebooks. The life lessons don't feel preachy or hypocritical and speak from experience. However, I thought that the book was slow and lackluster in some sections.
    This book might appeal to readers who liked the religious discussions and insightful observation in Life of Pi. For those addicted to the travel section of Barnes and Noble, this nonfiction is a must-read. People drawn to National Geographic and Travel and Leisure Magazine should also consider this book. If you're dealing with a heartbreak you might be able to relate to and get help from the Wisner brothers.
    This personal and endearing tale instructs on the healing powers of exploring the world and the commonality all humans share regardless of the country that they call home.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 23, 2009

    Just for Fun

    This is so much fun to read. Great for flight or beach. I love books that take me on trips to other parts of the world.

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  • Posted April 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not what I was expecting.

    There are many great reviews on this book, so I believe that it truly just wasn't a book for me. I stuck it out for the first 100 pages and gave up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2009

    Opens the readers heart and mind to the importance of relationship. It also allows the reader to sit back and rethink the importance of family and what time does the reader give to his/her peers and what each of us has to offer.

    Even though Franz was left at the altar, he was given the greatest gift of all, the brother he never knew. Sometimes the greatest gifts in life are the ones we can't place a value on and this book brings to life exactly this theme. It makes the reader realize that possessions do not make you richer. That richness lies within the gift of each other. The journey Franz and his brother take is not one just of adventure but one where they gain a deeper apprection of themselves and each other. You come away wanting to take the time to get to really know your peers on a one-to-one level and gain a richness that belongs within each other.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    Fun and entertaining.

    Honeymoon is original and funny. I would recommend it to my friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2009

    Very original

    I was pleasantly surprized with this book. The stryline is intriguing but the way the author writes truly improves the reading experiences. Throughout his travels he kept journals and he uses italics to explain his thinking at the time, a style difficult to explain but very easy to read and relate. The writing is thoughful and the author does a fine job of providing context with every explanation, albeit his own perspective. The plot sets up an interesting and insightful journey that parallels the author's personal growth. He himself had led an interesting life before the traveling described in his book, which kept me curious throughout. Overall it was a great read for the travel minded, but much better for those investigating feelings about prior personal relationships. I only wish the author could have provided some more detail about the travels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    Honeymoon With My Brother

    This was a totaly different outlook on a honeymoon. It was a fun book and what a great way to spend what could have been a bad time in life. I enjoyed the book with it's unusual theme.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2008

    Fantastic!

    I really enjoyed this book! It made me want to pack up my belongings and travel the world!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2007

    a great read

    I loved this book. It first takes the reader through the difficult time that Franz has after his fiance calls off the wedding. But of course the reader knows that it's a blessing in disguise. The way Franz expresses what happens is very real and something most of us can relate to in some way. But with the help of family and friends he manages to not descend into a 'poor-me' life and instead takes advantage of what life has handed him: a great brother and exploring the world as his therapy. What I found inspirational was how relaxed Franz and Kurt were even when things didn't go well during their travels. An added bonus was that after I read the book I emailed the brothers telling them how much I enjoyed it, and both of them wrote me a personal email back.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2007

    a travel experience

    I read this book because I saw Franz on Oprah and thought he and his book were so funny that i just had to read it myself. After traveling to Europe for three months myself I felt that I could relate to the brothers witty jokes and experiences. Im giving a copy to all my friends and family for christmas because I truly believe it is that great and that everyone should read it. I check up on the website all the time and I cant wait for the next edition. Dont let this book pass you by!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2007

    Heartwarming and hilarious travel journey

    A well written and humorous account of turning a negative into a positive, when Franz Wisner's fiance cancels their wedding less than one week before the event. He invites his brother along on his all expenses paid honeymoon in Costa Rica and before the two weeks are over they have decided to throw caution to the wind and travel the world together. The reader feels as though they are with the brothers every step of the way throughout the worldwide adventure. A quick read that leaves you wanting more travel tales from Franz and Kurt.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2007

    Must read

    I truly enjoyed this heartwarming story of two disassociated brothers how learn to live and love each other. You bond along with them as they travel the globe, experiencing all the world has to offer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2006

    It was almost better than my own honeymoon!

    Ok, not quite, but Franz Wisner AND his brother are funny, smart and so very brave! I found this book in the travel section of my local bookstore, but it very much deserves its place on the NY Times Bestseller List (where it's been for 15 straight weeks at the time of this review). Move that book to the front of the store! You will love this book for several reasons: 1) Franz Wisner is a great storyteller and this book is laugh-out-loud-funny (so beware if you're reading where others are trying to sleep around you). 2) If you've traveled at all, you can relate to the hilarious experiences The Brothers get themselves into and observe about other cultures. Heck, even if you don't like to travel you can live vicariously through these two - they've been everywhere! 3) If you've ever had your heart broken and it's taken a while to process it all, you can relate. This isn't a mushy story at all (men can read it too). But it does reinforce that things happen for a reason, and sometimes the worst experiences are just what we need in order to live life to the fullest! Cheers, Franz and Kurt, I can't wait to read about your next adventures!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2006

    Drop Everything.

    This book not only pleases and entertains travel enthusiasts, but it has the power to make you want to live a more fulfilling life. Franz Wisner made what could have been the worst couple years in his life into some of his best. Honeymoon With My Brother is a well written memoir about two adventurous spirits with a 'backstage pass to the world.' The book will make you realize that whether you have always dreamed of going sky diving, or wanted to learn African drumming, or have longed for a trip to Tahiti, that these things are possible and rewarding. Living in America, it is often very hard to take a break from the hardworking 9-5 lifestyle we live, even to simply to take a siesta. This book encourages self reflection and detatchment from our trained selves. It will make anyone eager to quit their jobs and just wing it for a while. Cheers Franz and Kurt! You guys have made your mark on me!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2006

    A great journey

    I really enjoyed this book. It was recommended by a friend because she knows I love to travel. I loved the relationship with their grandmother and how she and her friends followed their travels. The book has inspired me to read up on other countries that I had not previously had on my places to visit list. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to travel, near or far. It is a very enjoyable read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2006

    A MUST READ

    Honeymoon with My Brother is a fantastic read. Franz took a horrible experience and turned it into a fantastic positive voyage. This book will give you the sometimes necessary motivation to take a break and experience life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2006

    LOVED it : )

    Fabulous book--I could not put it down, and read it every spare moment I had. Since reading it, I have added many more locations to my 'places to see before I die' list. Franz & Kurt helped open my eyes, causing me to want to travel more and experience more of the things other places have to offer. Loved it and have not stopped talking about it since I read the last page! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2006

    Exceptionally well-written account of cross-cultural travel

    A friend informed me of the existence of this book, so I found a copy in the library and could not put it down. When I finished reading it the first time, I couldn't get it out of my head...so I read it a second time and then bought a copy for my sister as well as myself. I love this book! It is filled with accounts of the sometimes odd characters you meet in your travels, the joy of travelling free of a guide book, and the places you can go and the things you will find when you aren't looking for them. This memoir is also one of the most compelling accounts of brotherly bonding I have had the opportunity to read. This is one book you must read...and then share it with a sibling. It might just lead to some interesting travelling of your own!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2006

    Memorable... No, Actually Truly Unforgetable

    To say that I loved this book is a gross understatement, despite my friends' demands that I say it is in fact not as memorable as Kerouac's 'On the Road.' But I will be so bold to say that this is just as memorable as the Kerouac masterpiece. Take Jack's cross-country trip and spread it across the globe. Splash in some marital heartache, a reunion with an estranged brother and world wide adventures from Costa Rica to Syria and you have a smashing good time. You and all of your friend and family will truly enjoy this heart warming tale. It will inspire you to jump out of your seat, grab a backpack and hit the road. After living overseas and travelling for three years, from Korean motels to Thai bungalows and on to Australian hostels, I know what our heroes Kurt and Franz experienced. And after all the wild stories I have to tell, I could never paint a better picture in words than Franz Wisner has here. Read it! You'll never forget it!

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