Monkey Dancing: A Father, Two Kids, and a Journey to the Ends of the Earth

Monkey Dancing: A Father, Two Kids, and a Journey to the Ends of the Earth

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by Daniel Glick

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After losing his brother to cancer and a painful divorce that left him the sole charge d'affaires of two decidedly spirited children, environmental reporter Daniel Glick knew he and his little family desperately needed some karmic rejuvenation. He opted for an epic adventure. In the summer of 2001, Dan, Zoe, and Kolya packed up and set off on a six-month tour to


After losing his brother to cancer and a painful divorce that left him the sole charge d'affaires of two decidedly spirited children, environmental reporter Daniel Glick knew he and his little family desperately needed some karmic rejuvenation. He opted for an epic adventure. In the summer of 2001, Dan, Zoe, and Kolya packed up and set off on a six-month tour to see the world's most exotic and endangered habitats.

Monkey Dancing takes readers along for this incredible journey. From the python-infested rivers of Borneo to the highest summits of Bali, from Nepal's Gangeatic Plains to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, Glick recounts the adventures they met with, the challenges they confronted, and how they learned to cope with grief, loss, and one another. Along the way, he offers intimate reflection on life, fatherhood, change, and the fragile health of our troubled planet.

Acclaimed by reviewers, a BookSense Parenting bestseller, Monkey Dancing is a "poignant, affirming, ultimately courageous book"—Audubon Magazine.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
Fitfully amusing, especially when the author's two children...are testing the...limits their father has imposed...
Boulder Daily Camera
Much more than a simple travel story. Glick's memoirs, explore the connective tissue of familial, environmental, political and universal relations...
Lafayette (CO) News
[Glick] is both a father and an observer...his observations not only provide material, but...allow his paternal tendencies to grow...
The Chicago Tribune
Glick's writing is frank, amusing, and mellifluous...
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
an inspiring globe-trotting road trip with a personal and environmental agenda...definitely an armchair trip worth taking.
Child Magazine
in this inspiring memoir, [Glick] describes his transformative six-month trip around the world with his children.
July 2003
Hartford Courant
Glick...has the skills to make this unusual odyssey believable and fascinating.
June 15, 2003
Los Angeles Times
engaging... follows the three Glicks' day-to-day thrill and turmoil as the make their way around the globe... [a] rich narrative.
July 8, 2003
USA Today
Great adventures all, but it's the inner journey that's most interesting, for the author and for Kolya and Zoe, whose own journal entries enliven the story. Over time and distance, all three come to terms in new ways with their losses and altered family arrangements. — Tom Kenworthy
The New Yorker
Not all parents would hang off the deck of a houseboat in Borneo to check for swimming pythons or rent anti-leech socks for a walk in a rhino sanctuary in Vietnam. But the environmental reporter Daniel Glick, trying to regain his balance after his divorce and his older brother's death, did just that in a trip around the world with his teen-age son and nine-year-old daughter. In Monkey Dancing, Glick introduces endangered species and places to his children, who had been "raised on flashes of music videos and DSL Internet downloads." Glick's journalistic background informs his odyssey with a sense of scholarly urgency; "Dad," his son asks, "have many things gone extinct in your lifetime?" The trip has some of the typical trials of a family vacation -- a flat tire in Bali, bickering in Kathmandu -- although even the most dangerous encounters are leavened by Glick's mordant sense of humor: "The kids returned, uneaten."

Mark Jacobson also embarks on "a grand, somewhat nutty gesture," a three-month-long circumnavigation of the globe with his wife and three kids. In the forthcoming 12,000 Miles In The Nick Of Time, Jacobson has his own version of the traveller's gung-ho attitude: "We'd come all this way to escape the enveloping ersatz of the fetid American experience . . . to be at one with The Real. And we were going to partake of that real, goddammit." Like Glick, he wants his children to learn from the world's unpredictability. Caught on the Ganges at the start of the monsoon season, Jacobson presses on, convinced that a circumnavigation only succeeds through forward motion. "Like Moses," he writes, "I would lead my children from pop bondage."

(Lauren Porcaro)
Publishers Weekly
After an unexpected, devastating divorce, Glick faced the challenge of bonding with his two children. He handled it by taking his 13-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter on a six-month trip around the world. This unusual, superbly written and deeply human story of their travels is a consistently rewarding odyssey. Glick, an environmental reporter (Newsweek, etc.), writes, "I wanted my kids to share my affection for quiet redwoods and cholla cactus, to swim in mountain lakes and sleep under streaking stars during meteor showers." They move from Australia's Great Barrier Reef to Bali, with its contrasting combinations of spiritual awareness and bargaining for surfboard key rings. Glick highlights Borneo's boiling heat and Indonesia's grinding poverty, along with sojourns in Zurich and Kathmandu. The book is striking both as travelogue and personal drama. Glick's memories of his brother, a victim of rare male breast cancer, weave their way powerfully through the story, along with his despair and confusion over losing his wife to a woman. But Glick doesn't sentimentalize and frankly refers to his children's fights by saying, "[I]f sibling bickering were an art form, these two would be Old Masters," while clearly indicating the love beneath their combativeness. His slowly emerging new romance provides another point of interest and tension. By the time Glick is finished talking of lizards, crocodiles, cassowaries, koalas and kingfishers, even readers who lack the author's raging wanderlust will long to encounter unfamiliar cultures and witness firsthand the tigers of Nepal, the Javan rhinos of Vietnam and the orangutans of Borneo. Photos. Agent, Scott Waxman. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
What do you do when your wife leaves you for a woman, your older brother dies of breast cancer, and your kids are growing up fast and are confused by everything going on around them? Daniel Glick, a former Newsweek correspondent, decided to take them on a five-month world tour to put them in touch with some of the natural and endangered wonders of the world. In some cases, he retraced his steps of previous trips, but going there with a nine-year-old girl still prone to temper tantrums and a 13-year-old boy on the cusp of the uncharted territory of adolescence was either going to make or break them as a family. As they made their way through Australia, Vietnam, Nepal, and Borneo, Glick recorded the family's high and low points, their meldings and blow-ups. He makes observations about their immediate surroundings and the world around them, both geographically and emotionally, as he remembers his brother, his marriage, and his own feelings as a child and young man. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, PublicAffairs, 340p. illus., Ages 15 to adult.
—Nola Theiss
Library Journal
This book has much to give on many levels. Faced suddenly with single fatherhood after divorcing his wife, avid traveler Glick, an experienced journalist who worked for Newsweek and has written for numerous other publications, including Rolling Stone and the New York Times Magazine, took his two children on a six-month journey around the world. The purpose was not only to show them some of the world's fast-disappearing natural wonders but also to research some major environmental concerns. Glick cleverly weaves together his family's travel experiences in Australia, Southeast Asia, India, and Europe with factual data on conservation issues and his experience of becoming a single parent. What results is an engaging and moving narrative that informs as it entertains. Perhaps the most touching aspect of the text is Glick's frank assessment of his own transition from being a married, career-focused man to being a divorced single father. He is searching yet never self-indulgent, and he has much to say that would encourage single parents-and, indeed, all parents. A fine blend of travel and inspirational writing; for public libraries.-Rebecca Bollen, North Bergen, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the wake of death and divorce, Newsweek writer Glick and his two children take to the road. This strategy had served the author well in previous times of transition, "as an entrée into a reflective trance, as a tool of personal reinvention, as literal and metaphorical escape." When his brother dies of cancer one year after his marriage ends, a trip around the world again seems like a good idea. Nine-year-old Zoe and thirteen-year-old Kolya encounter Indonesia and Nepal, Cambodia and Vietnam, pythons and pit vipers, with an aplomb many adults would envy. Their diary entries, included in Dad’s text, show Kolya declaring, "We are barfeet in rhino shit," and Zoe ordering her companions to "get this slimy bloodsucking viper off me." Glick (Powder Burn, not reviewed) also intends their trip to serve as an exploration of the wild places that soothe his spiritual core, the kind of landscapes that may soon disappear under one onslaught or another along with the priceless animals they harbor. And so, in the easy voice he uses throughout, he talks to the kids about island populations, starfish scourges, and endangered creatures; he also tries to deliver history lessons to give them perspective and help to make understandable events like 9/11, which happens while they are in Cambodia. This is a very human story, balancing the local color with stories about Glick’s deceased brother, the grief that trailed when the children's mother left them, and the resulting sea change in Glick as he grapples with Kolya’s newborn interest in drugs and Zoe’s first yeast infection. It’s a fine and mordant account of experiencing things before they melt into air, stitching the remnants of a family’s old lives into awhole new cloth. Big-hearted, pleasingly fitful narrative of the kind of journey that scours the soul of its karmic gunk. (Photos) Agent: Scott Waxman/Waxman Agency

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Meet the Author

Daniel Glick worked for Newsweek for more than 12 years, as a Washington correspondent and as a special correspondent roving the Rocky Mountain West. He has also written for Rolling Stone, the Washington Post Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Men's Journal and numerous other publications, and is the author of Powder Burn: Arson, Money, and Mystery on Vail Mountain. Having traveled widely and lived on four continents, Glick now lives in Colorado with his two children.

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Monkey Dancing: A Father, Two Kids, and a Journey to the Ends of the Earth 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book. It shows a typical family today, divorced. A great father who tries to teach his kids about the world and family lessons all in won. Great adventure and outlook on life!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this delightful and engaging book was touching and teaching! it was amusing and thought provoking on so many different levels and just a good read. I am on my third reading of some of the travelogues and am still learning and touched. This is an excellent read for newly divorced parents and those in the grieving process!!