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Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  10,083 Ratings  ·  669 Reviews
With The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Maarten Troost established himself as one of the most engaging and original travel writers around. Getting Stoned with Savages again reveals his wry wit and infectious joy of discovery in a side-splittingly funny account of life in the farthest reaches of the world. After two grueling years on the island of Tarawa, battling feral dogs, mach ...more
Paperback, 239 pages
Published June 13th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published 2006)
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The South Pacific is not totally the paradise one might imagine from travel posters. J. Maarten Troost has written a humorous travel book where he tells of primitive transportation, corrupt governments, harrowing cyclones, huge venonous centipedes, and traveling to the rim of an active volcano. He is fascinated with the history of cannibalism, and learns about the missionaries and rival villagers who were victims to the practice. As the title suggests, he enjoys getting stoned with a native drin ...more
May 25, 2010 Julie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 1
Shelves: own, non-fiction
In his follow-up to The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Troost seems to have found his voice and rhythm. He picks up where he left off, overwhelmed by the constraints of the corporate life in Washington DC, until he decides that he and his wife Sylvia are ready for another sojourn in their beloved South Pacific. This time, instead of landing on a desolate atoll, they spend time in Vanuatu and Fiji. It is in Vanuatu that Troost discovers the wonders of kava, a local intoxicant, and regales his reader wit ...more
Sep 20, 2011 Terry rated it it was amazing
Last summer I read The Sex Lives of Cannibals, which I reported to be about neither sex nor cannibals (although, a good book nonetheless). The sequel, Getting Stoned with Savages, IS about getting stoned, and, ironically, is very much about cannibals. Go figure with the titles... I guess they just sound catchier this way.

I listened to both books and would heartily recommend it if you can get them on audio. The whole time I listened to them, I forgot that it was not the author who was reading, a
Books Ring Mah Bell
Mar 22, 2011 Books Ring Mah Bell rated it liked it
Some time ago, I read Troost’s The Sex Lives of Cannibals, and found it a pleasant and humorous read. Desiring a quick, fun read, I did not hesitate to scoop up Getting Stoned with Savages. Troost does not disappoint.

After spending some time in Kiribati, the basis of his other book, he and his wife return to the United States, only to become bored by the rat race. Soon, they decide to try life in another South Pacific locale, the islands of Fiji and Vanuatu.

As they had lived in the tropics befo
Aug 21, 2009 Jennifer rated it liked it
Recommends it for: armchair travelers
This was a funny enough travel read, and definitely fits the genre of "writer and family moves to new place, has funny adventures". It was a great location to read about, although I've read more compelling discussions of a place and its people.
I especially liked the discussion of escapism and what wanderlust means. Another reviewer quoted his passage about the search for paradise and how real life always catches up. Calls into question my own current streak of armchair traveling. Also, I like h
Nov 24, 2014 Chrisl rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, islands, 2000s
Troost's tale brought back images of a place I'd probably been amoeba intestine invaded.

The French freighter ($212 ticket) that I rode from Sydney to Panama in early 1969 had to reverse direction to avoid storm Colleen winds around New Caledonia, before arriving in the New Hebrides for four days to load copra. Soon after the ship began steaming toward Tahiti, copra beetles arrived in passenger cabins.

Other than the army checkpoints on Panama's cross country highway, I have no stronger memory of
Петър Стойков
Цялото ревю:

Благодарение на тия безкрайно полезни мерки, хората в съответните държави си седят на ниво диваци и все още се изяждат един друг (съвсем буквално), племенните им вождове, които ги държат на това дередже забогатяват от хуманитарните помощи и фондове, а раздутата "хуманитарна" бюрокрация се гордее как "помага на нуждаещите се страни"...
Oh it just annoyed me! Right from the start of the title it was frustrating ... So I gave it a go, got to 13% of the way and then promptly realised that the book reads like the title so stopped reading it. Ta da!

There are MUCH better books set in the South Pacific. Being in New Zealand, this is so so true.
Jun 27, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing
This author never fails to humor, entertain, and educate me on things I would otherwise never be exposed to. This book was equally as enjoyable as Sex Lives of Cannibals, and I was able to recall the events referenced. I simply love Troost's memoir writing style, and would love to emulate it in a book of my own some day. A definite read for lovers of adventure, travel, humor and memoirs.
Dec 19, 2013 Adam rated it liked it
While The Sex Lives of Cannibals had nothing to do with sex lives or cannibals, Getting Stoned with Savages does include much getting stoned. The use of the word 'savages' is part of the whole deal of these titles, which are slightly gauche parodies of the titles of various written materials on this part of the world from centuries past.

In any case, yes, there is much getting stoned with the populations of Vanuatu and Fiji. If what happens when you drink kava counts as stoned, in which case I a
Jessica Plante
Dec 28, 2015 Jessica Plante rated it liked it
A thoroughly enjoyable, informative read-- a great choice if you want to learn about new places, but also want to be talked out of actually travelling to them.

Despite the racist title*, I continue to find Maarten's perspective and engagement with foreign cultures refreshing. This book, as the third one of his I've read, really made me feel like I have gotten to know Maarten as a person, in addition to becoming familiarized with the foreign places he lives/visits. As other reviewers have remarked
Jan 23, 2009 Noel rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
"Paradise was always over there, a day's sail away. But it's a funny thing, escapism. You can go far and wide and you can keep moving on and on through places and years, but you never escape your own life. I,finally, knew where my life belonged. Home."

That quote from the end of the book, kind of sums up the entire book: why the author went to live on the island, why he stayed and why he left. This is a really funny book, the author says everything he needs to say with a drop of humor or sarcasm
Aug 02, 2009 Christine rated it really liked it
J. Maarten Troost is my favorite travel writer after reading book number two. It's too damn bad he claims he is staying in the U.S. for good but we'll see about that. And he should consider writing regular old travel adventure books like Bill Bryson does. But you obviously truly experience the culture when you live somewhere.

This book was a bit different than his first because of the situation. In his first, he was living on a tropical atoll in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific which was an a
Apr 03, 2010 Justin rated it it was amazing
Rarely has my reading of a book been as well-timed as it was with Getting Stoned with Savages. In the midst of preparing to move my family overseas, reading J. Maarten Troost recount his decision to leave Washington, DC for the islands of Vanuata and Fiji was equal parts inspiration, reinforcement, and much-needed distraction from working out the details of my own complicated endeavor.

Granted, moving with my wife and son back to her home country of Denmark isn’t the same as Troost and his wife
Dec 07, 2014 Andrea rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, funny
Troost specializes in that self-deprecating, clueless traveler mode of writing that is popular with good reason. We get the experience of watching someone else stumbling through exotic cultures with all the hopeless cowardice and ineptitude which we secretly know would be our own lot. In Troost's earlier book, he and his wife spent two years on one island, whereas in this, they move several times. Troost doesn't get into any deep philosophizing and yet he knows the absurdity of trying to "go nat ...more
Oct 01, 2008 Samantha rated it liked it
This was my least favorite of Troot's books. It truly is, in large part, about getting stoned with people in a third world country. (I draw the line at calling them savages...even if they did used to eat people...) The majority of this book is spent discussing Troost and his wife's time living in Vanuatu (where he spent a lot of time drinking the local delicacy 'kava' which apparently has exceptionally effective narcotic properties. His wife then becomes pregnant and they move to Suva, Fiji when ...more
Aug 30, 2007 skokiesam rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Bored people
A friend of mine recommended this book to me, and I have a great respect for the books she chooses as she has good taste in books. Apparently, I may have been wrong. Although I did enjoy reading this, it was a little dry at some points albeit fascinating in others. More journal than travelogue, it chronicles the author's experiences in a faraway land and his cohabitation with, of all things, cannibals.

The author is a good writer and often funny. Perhaps it's just me and my taste in books, but he
Jan 06, 2010 Kristin rated it liked it
From the author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals, another irreverent account of expat life in "developing" countries (for all of you poli-sci/IR/WS majors out there, one must turn off the filters of academia to enjoy this). The first couple of chapters evoked riotous laughter in describing the transition to working at the World Bank and the decision to return to equatorial life. Certain observations were dead-on (e.g. the necessity of the plot-driven novel in flights that last upwards of 12 hours). ...more
Jan 25, 2010 Victoria rated it it was amazing
Having long ago chosen the South Pacific as my dream vacation/habitat, I loved this book, along with 'Sex Lives of Cannibals'. The writing is fun and makes you laugh while also thinking...hmmm...maybe people crapping in the ocean doesn't make much for beautiful scenery. I read these two books simultaneously, so I seem to get them mixed up when thinking of the details of each. Either way, both were quite funny and "eww-inspiring" at the same time.

NOTE: If you happen to need a travel companion for
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
May 21, 2015 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
Who would think a book about moving to a tropical island with enormous poisonous stinging caterpillars and enormous poisonous snakes and sharks in the water and even real cannibals would be amusing? Troost must be a very accepting fellow because he's done it not once but twice. Both times he has managed to get books out of his adventures and he seems to have written very little else, so perhaps this is a good arrangement for him. I liked book two almost as much as book one, something that is sur ...more
Tom Tabasco
Dec 01, 2015 Tom Tabasco rated it really liked it
As fresh, funny and slightly nuts as ever. Good insight into Vanuatu and Fiji, too.
Update Dec 1, 2015: I thought of this book when I heard on NPR an interview with the President of Kiribati Anote Tong. He said his country could be uninhabitable within the next 50 years were global warming to continue unabated. Some communities on Kiribati’s 33 atolls and reef islands have already relocated to higher ground due to encroaching sea water.
Sep 08, 2016 Abbey rated it liked it
This is funny stuff, well-written, but on the whole, I prefer gonzo travel books by Tim Cahill or Bill Bryson. I learned some things I'd rather not know - like the little tidbit that you can chop a deadly millipede in half and both halves will still attack you - and some things that were worth knowing, like knowing that I never have to go to Vanuatu. That's a destination off my life. It saves a lot of money to live vicariously through other people's misadventures.
Oct 30, 2010 David rated it really liked it
A sequel to The Sex Life of Cannibals (see my review), this memoir/travelogue gets serious about the politics of the South Pacific isles, but is more often just plain funny. Troost has a curious love/hate relationship with tropical lands and I wouldn't be surprised if he uproots his family and tries again.

Fascinated by his description of the horrifying jumbo centipedes on Vanuatu, I Googled them; he had it right...they're huge and scary enough to precipitate a heart attack.
brian tanabe
Mar 22, 2008 brian tanabe rated it really liked it
This is a must-read for all the cult followers of Sex Lives of Cannibals. I've actually heard a lot of ho-hum reviews of Getting Stoned and so it took me a while to pick this "sequel" up. But eventually, and thankfully, I did. Getting Stoned is a true beach read -- great for spring break. Troost, the Bill Bryson of the south pacific, pens a light and very entertaining travelogue about living in Fiji and Vanuatu with his wife and newborn son.
Oct 05, 2015 Jan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
This hilarious, light-hearted travel memoir will not be the most important or profound book I've read this year, so why four stars? Four stars for me means this is a book I really enjoyed and that I will share with others. Maarten Troost is so witty--I laughed out loud numerous times in every single chapter. I look forward to reading his other books. They are fast and fun.
Apr 08, 2009 SJane rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the second installment of J. Maarten Troost's experiences in the South Pacific more so than his first. Perhaps because we both knew what he (and I) were getting into on this adventure, I found it even more readable with a light and funny, yet thoughtful perspective on being a complete outsider in a place both alien and familiar. A wonderful summer or in-between heavy books read.
Aug 29, 2011 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, travelogues
Just as entertaining as his previous book. Though I found myself sort of disturbed by how lightly he treats (what sounds like) human trafficking and the plight of clearly desperate prostitutes. I don't remember that from his other book. But maybe there are just fewer prostitutes in Kiribati. (I mean, probably.)
Aug 15, 2014 PorshaJo rated it really liked it
Shelves: challengereads
I really enjoyed this book. I had thought about reading this book for years but always decided on something else. Now, with a trip to the South Pacific, I decided to pick this up. I'm so glad that I did but sorry I waited so long to read this. Troost is funny and knows how to tell a story. I'm looking forward to picking up the other books by him.
Sep 07, 2013 Mara rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
As a travel book, I liked this book. That doesn't mean I want to visit these islands, however. The author has a good mix of humor and information which reminds me a bit of Bill Bryson.
Rachel Rubenstein
Jun 27, 2013 Rachel Rubenstein rated it liked it
apparently some people quit their jobs and move to the South Pacific to get high and write books about quitting their jobs and moving to the South Pacific and getting high. the struggle must be real.
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Jan Maarten Troost (known professionally as J. Maarten Troost) (born 1969 in The Netherlands) is a Dutch-American travel writer and essayist.

J. Maarten Troost is the author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific. His essays have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, and the Prague Post. He spent two years in Kiribati in the equatorial Pacific and upon his
More about J. Maarten Troost...

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“Paradise was always over there, a day’s sail away. But it’s a funny thing, escapism. You can go far and wide and you can keep moving on and on through places and years, but you never escape your own life. I, finally, knew where my life belonged. Home.” 107 likes
“Nevertheless, while I may not have completely understood what Holy Communion was all about, Catholicism did allow me to see the nuances in cannibalism. Eating the flesh of another human being, I understood, might not always be a really, really bad thing to do. If you were a good Catholic, you had some every Sunday.” 3 likes
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