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

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  290 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
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 wo ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published June 16th 2004 by PublicAffairs (first published 2003)
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Aug 10, 2010 Nathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: franklin-library
A fun and engaging concept, but one that should have stayed a DIY project for friends and family. Beyond initially wishing I could drop everything and go on a long trip myself, I didn't connect with the people in this book, and matters aren't helped by the fact that the author is portraying himself or his children throughout; the depiction rings false and shallow. The messy business of family life is immediately recognizable, but somehow uncomfortable; I felt more voyeuristic than anything. None ...more
Apr 25, 2007 Rosie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This sweet memoir begins with a wash of unexpected news over a dad and his two kids. Mom's been having an affair, with another woman, and doesn't want custody. Dad's brother is diagnosed with breast cancer and dies soon after. What's a dad who is grieving the loss of the two most significant people in his life to do? Pack up the kids and take them on a trek around the world while introducing them to some of the most critically endangered animals. Because that's just it, isn't it? We are all enda ...more
Nov 29, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, travel
Overall I did enjoy the book but at times I really felt like "really"? For example complaining about how boring and unconnected he feels to the children when he is doing "mom" duty - feeding them, chores etc. While I understand his feeling, this is something his wife (and most adults) dealt with while he was jetting off for his next assignment. Sorry but he gets no sympathy from me.

Also was it really a smart idea to write about allowing his (13 year old) son to smoke pot. Regardless of the fact
Jul 21, 2012 Stacey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I desperately wanted to like this book, it was very slow reading, with WAY too much environmental preaching and not nearly enough emotional discovery. If you like reading travel logs, it's well written. The descriptions of people as places are solid, and it certainly made me want to visit some of the locales (although in a much more luxurious fashion, I'll admit). But the story is sold as a "heart wrenching tale" - which I assumed referred to the kids, the death, and the divorce, and NOT t ...more
Mar 21, 2008 Karl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents, environmentalists, childrent-at-heart
For those of us who wished we could take our children around the world - or wish our parents had taken us - this is a true-life story of a single father lovingly trying to instill into his two children an appreciation for other cultures and their environmental roots. Along the way, he battles his emotions over the break-up of his marriage, the loss of his brother to cancer, and the trials of raising two adolescent children who are intimately linked to the conveniences of modern Western culture. ...more
Mar 06, 2017 Keri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting but not fascinating. I could have used less data about the various environmental tragedies. The descriptions left me feeling about as compelled to learn more as his disinterested children. The family story is really the best part of this book.
Adriane Devries
On the waves of overwhelming grief over a failed marriage and the death of his brother within one year of each other, environmental reporter Daniel Glick pulled his two children, aged 13 and 9, out of school and took them on an impromptu six-month safari. Traversing four continents, they sought to form a new normal for their diminished family unit, to embrace imperfection in exchange for a no-longer possible ideal, as reflected in their poignant and humorous journal entries. With work and school ...more
Sep 09, 2016 Anastasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this a few months ago and forgot to close it out on Goodreads. So, my thoughts aren't fresh. I recommended this to a few people after finishing it, but after a respite I'm less excited about the book. Here's what I remember.

I appreciate the perspective of a single dad raising his kids. I thought his idea to drag them around to see the world was amazing and brave (although he seemed to have a large international support network and money; with those resources I'll bet I could do it, t
Oct 22, 2013 Tauri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It is a great combination of travel, education and relationships. Instead of isolating any one of these topics, the author gives the reader just enough information to go along for the trip. The educational aspect explains why the author chose that destination, the environmental and social history needed to understand the desperation of the situation and to safely travel there. The relationship portion focuses on the author developing deep bonds with his children through this e ...more
May 31, 2010 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great concept...traveling to exotic places with children to show them first hand the results of decimating a species through over use of the land and over hunting for selfish human-centric purposes. This book is written by a journalist and it shows. Daniel Glick should have lightened up a bit on this one. The journalistic style gets old about midway through the story. Maybe he could have focused more on just one of his plots...either the parenting/relationship piece or the conservation concept. ...more
Kim Franklin
I enjoyed this book and found myself telling several people about it after I finished reading it. It was particularly refreshing to witness such vulnerability in a man who finds himself in the wake of several significant losses. Daniel Glick's ability to reflect on his own process of healing while describing the full range of challenges that he navigates with his children on such an ambitious trip makes for interesting reading. Being married to an ecology professor, I was also impressed by his k ...more
Gin Getz
Jul 29, 2014 Gin Getz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daniel Glick takes you on a wonderful roller-coaster ride of a journey as full and fresh and love and life. As a parent, a partner, a traveler, a seeker (within and around), I loved it, loved his writing, loved the story. I found myself laughing, crying, cringing and cheering. It's beautiful, caring, thoughtful, and thought provoking. Opens your eyes, heart and mind to the wonders of the world just a little more fully by going along on this personal, intimate yet big wide world journey.
Jul 08, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book. The author is a Newsweek correspondent and a fantastic author. He takes his two preteen and teenage children around the world. Upon this journey Glick is trying to make sense of his life after his wife leaves him and their children for another woman and his brother dies from cancer. It was wonderful watching the relationship of the three main characters change for each other and the world throughout the book.
Cat Urbigkit
Nov 05, 2007 Cat Urbigkit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a travel biography with a very interesting perspective. Writer Daniel Glick took his young children on a trip around the world, prompted by major life changes. His wife left him for another woman, and his dear brother died of cancer. Double whammy - so what to do? Pack the kids and leave. Read the book to join Glick's journey, which provides an intimate view to his thinking, and his successes and failures in child-rearing. We all have them, but Glick write about them.
Feb 06, 2012 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I can't imagine packing up two children under the age of 13 and traveling with them around the world to such remote places (well, Bali isn't *that* remote*). I admired his candid portrayal of situations that I am sure other authors would have excluded. I also respected his realization that his ex-wife would probably want to remain anonymous (even though she can easily be googled).
Christy S
Glick’s writing is cliche and unoriginal, and this is far from the top of my list as far as travel writing goes. Nevertheless, the family dynamics and the destinations of their travels were fun to read– Glick planned the trip so his children could experience the natural wonders that might not be around in twenty years.
Mar 26, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The perfect book to read while traveling through Southeast Asia with my husband and 3 boys during our year "off" from school. If you love travel or nature or conservation biology, or you've ever thought of picking your family up and leaving the country for a little while, this is an excellent read. It is interesting, funny and honest.
DNF so no stars. I really wanted to like this book. I tried really hard. But I could barely get through Australia with this threesome before I just had to put the book down. I'm sure the writer did not intend to portray his children as insufferable brats, but that's sure how they came off. I couldn't stomach facing an around-the-world journey with their incessant whining and arguing.
Sep 10, 2011 Lucius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book shows that children can travel anywhere. Not only can they travel anywhere, but they can make the adventure all the more rich with their insight. After going through a divorce, Glick takes his two kids around the world to see some of the vanishing flora and fauna that might not be around when they're adults. This book is about enviromentalism, travel, and parenting.
Aug 04, 2008 Mel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a fun ride through several countries and anyone who's traveled can relate. Added twist of father trying to teach life lessons to his kids through travel, not necessarily succeeding but learning things about himself nonetheless.
I read this years ago and liked this father's honest look at himself as a parent and what legacy he wants to leave his children. I didn't like some of the things he let his kids do but that is another issue. Once again I love reading about places I have never been to.
Nov 20, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love travel books. Daniel Glick combines this with self reflection (ala Eat, Pray, Love) with parenting and a dose of environmental perspective. Nicely done. Clear writing.
Sep 26, 2007 Jana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hikingandtravel
I thought it was really brave of the author to put out his flaws as a parent while telling his story of traveling with his kids after his wife left them and his brother died. I loved his travels and the book kept me interested.
Aug 16, 2015 Abby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book years ago. It's one of those that sticks with me, and probably always will.

I hope to take my kids on a trip like this someday. Daniel Glick gave his kids an incredible gift!

Michelle Russell frazier
A raw depiction of the aftermath of divorce and death. A true story of how one family chooses to deal with these life events, travelling around the world and learning about endangered species living in situations far from their own. A powerful and enlightening book!
Jun 10, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Excellent read. As a world traveler myself I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. What a great opportunity for these 2 children to spend 5 months traveling the world with their Dad experiencing other cultures. Great learning for them!
May 31, 2012 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good story and well-written, but it is sure to make you determined never have kids...
Jul 13, 2014 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful story of a father that takes his kids on journey through different parts of the world after his wife leaves him for another woman.
Lorie Bonano
Aug 03, 2008 Lorie Bonano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was an interesting read, from the details of their travels to the facts and insight into their personal life that was thrown into chaos and grief.
Mar 16, 2011 Lindsey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
interesting concept, the story just couldn't hold me when they got to Europe. Maybe it's because I don't have children; maybe it's because I don't like his style of writing; I just couldn't do it.
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