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How to Walk a Puma: My (mis)adventures in South America

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  265 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
An intrepid African safari guide sets out to discover all he can about the wildlife of the South American continent in a hilarious book about walking pumas (can be dangerous), chasing jaguars (can be elusive) and finding love (can be tricky).

Plans are usually only good for one thing - laughing at in hindsight. So, armed with rudimentary Spanish, dangerous levels
Paperback, 212 pages
Published February 2012 by Allen & Unwin (first published January 1st 2011)
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Marie Knock
I LOVED Peter's other books, but felt this just did not compare. I had been dying to read this for a year or so, and was so excited to finally buy it...but it just did not evoke a sense of place or exploration like his other books do.

I struggled though it in the hope that it would improve - it didn't.

It might be because he is focussed on rehabilitated animals in captivity opposed to narrating his encounters with wild animals in Africa.. but it just did not deliver for me :( After reading his oth
ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ
I started reading this around 1pm after picking it up from the library. I finished it by 11:30pm. Nice book for an armchair traveller to take you around South America. Starts in Bolivia, moves into Chile briefly, back to Bolivia, then ends the last half of the book in various parts of Ecuador.
Mar 09, 2012 Meli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Allisons books are so easy to read I just wish they were longer! In his usual style this book is both informative and hilarious. Inti Wara Yassi sounds amazing and i would like to go and walk a puma myself
This would be the first not-about-Africa book we've reviewed here, but it has ties to Africa. For those that have enjoyed Peter Allison's books (Whatever You Do, Don't Run! and Don't Look Behind You), How to Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling through South America is a natural segue. When he was nineteen, Peter flipped a coin to decide between going to South America and Africa; Africa won. After many (entertaining) years as a safari guide in Africa, he longed to explore the ...more
Mar 30, 2012 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who enjoy travel memoirs,
Ever since I read my first Peter Allison book in April of last year I've been waiting eagerly to read his newest book of adventures! Unfortunately I was on the waiting list for the library since the book's release date but at least I was the first one to read the copy I got last week (Which I finished in a few hours mind you).

This one was just as funny and entertaining as I had hoped it would be though you can tell that Peter went at his journey across South America a little older and a little
I was really looking forward to this book as I loved Allison's other two books. If I were to rate the first couple of chapters it would have been a 5 star book. Those chapters were funny and contained an animal. The middle part of the book was OK, the end I just wanted to be done. This is not necessarily a reflection on the book I am sure some people will love it but it was just not interesting for me. I also felt like he was preaching a little too much - I got it the first time around - he is a ...more
Jan 10, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Allison is an animal enthusiast who spent eight years working at an African safari lodge (documented in his two previous books, DON'T RUN, Whatever You Do: My Adventures as a Safari Guide and Don't Look Behind You!: True Tales of a Safari Guide. In 2009-2010, he spent 18 months traveling around South America and this book is about his adventures on that continent. They include living naked with an Ecuadorian native tribe, exploring glaciers in Patagonia, near death on an Bolivian river and ...more
An engagingly written memoir by an ex-safari guide in Africa about his adventures exploring the South American flora and fauna and the quest to spot a jaguar.

It starts with his volunteering at a place where rescued animals are housed and taken care of with the hope of them eventually being released back in the wild. So, Peter lands a job as a walker to Roy, the puma and suffers quite a few funny and not-so-funny accidents. Later on it continues to other parts of the continent, experiencing a sc
Lee Slater
How to Walk a Puma: And other things I learned while stumbling through South America has more of a chronological narrative compared to Allison's other books. This makes sense though with the format and although slightly different in this sense it still has the wit, passion and well articulated stories that are presented in his other books. I found How to Walk a Puma just as entertaining as: 'Whatever you do, don't run' and 'Don't look behind you' and recommended it just as highly.
Jun 12, 2015 Diva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first book from Peter Allison, and he has instantly become my favourite author. Extremely well written book, funny with a dry sense of humour, witty and insightful. A must read for those who love this world of ours, you will find that your feelings resonate in this emotional yet light account of Peter's adventures and you will form a primal bond.
Feb 08, 2014 Tracy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is easy and quick to read, but I did not enjoy it as much as Peter Allison's previous books. This may be due to the fact that I have not been to South America and so could not relate to the places he visited?

Peter's passion for Africa shines through in his other two books (which are brilliant and funny). The writing in 'How to Walk a Puma' did not portray the same emotions for South America, therefore it was less of a page turner for me.

Having said that, I love Peter Allison's sense of
Jan 03, 2013 Deborah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Allison is an entertaining writer. His love of life in the wild and love of all animals comes shining through in each of his books; I greatly enjoyed the previous two about his safari guiding years in Africa. This one was even better. Peter's self-deprecating way of not taking himself too seriously is always a treat and some of his descriptive phrasing choices are downright hilarious.
Although I haven't walked the glaciers of Patagonia, I related deeply with his awe and amazement at the ex
Dec 17, 2014 Anny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I guess the law of diminished return is at work here, because I kept finding his book less and less funny. His adventure with a Puma was dragged for too many chapters (one should suffice) and the part with the Huaorani was the best part in the book, but even then it was only mildly funny.
I have read both Peter Allison's other books,a nd having spent time in South America, looked forward to this one. It did not disappoint, and the chapters on walking a puma were really quite hilarious. he certainly made me want to go to the Amazon. Having said that, all 3 of his books have left me wanting more,a nd I do feel that he could have done more with this book. He could have delved into the rich cultures I'd South America, perhaps written more about his characters and about more character ...more
Jennifer Boyce
Yay, first review! ;) I think this is the best book I've read by Peter Allison, I really enjoyed it. It's an incredibly quick read and is really humorous at parts. I have a lot of respect for people who are not ashamed to poke fun at themselves and the author certainly does a lot of that in this book. I enjoyed how each chapter was a different short story (a chapter in the adventure) but each chapter ties easily into the overall story. Overall, this book is really entertaining.

Something I just n
Sep 23, 2013 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little disappointed in this book as I have so much enjoyed Peter Allison's two previous books. They described his experiences as a safari guide in Africa with laugh-out-loud comments and adventures, moments of extreme danger, and ahis underlying deep respect for the animals and conservation. I thought this book would be the same but there is less about animals and more about Peter's journeys through remote areas of South America in hopes of seeing a jaguar. It was still funny and full of ...more
Jan 19, 2014 Cara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my least favorite of Peter Allison's books. This was still decently funny and an interesting collection of his travels, but he re-uses jokes and the narrative was not as fresh and fast-paced as his Africa safari books.
May 22, 2015 Gregory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just wish the puma on the cover was the real puma in the story. Enjoy Peter's writing a lot.
Feb 11, 2012 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really don't know how Peter Allison is still alive. I love his sense of humor, and this book was good but I enjoyed his other books more. One problem with his books: they are too short!

As this one came to an end, I felt like he was just rushing to get it finished. However, the last part of this journey was with a tribe who were still totally laid back, no sense or care for time, so it was probably just now as adventuresome (although he clearly enjoyed it.)

Anyway, I'm now waiting for his next b
Jan 27, 2013 Jeannie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Allison has a delightful sense of humor, and I had to struggle not to laugh aloud in public a few times when I was reading How to Walk a Puma. It's a fun read between using a puking cat as a pick up line, dodging puma attacks, and surviving earthquakes and crazy drivers, there is a lot to enjoy. At some point I became a bit annoyed at someone having the time to spend a year and a half just doing whatever came to his mind, but that was probably more jealousy on my part than bad writing on h ...more
Mar 16, 2016 Xzs rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite genres of books. These types of travel books are my version of those supermarket romance novels that people like to read while lounging on the beach. I specifically selected to read this book to get myself primed up for my upcoming vacation. This wasn't the best armchair travelogue, but it suited my needs. Plus it was a quick read, and I do enjoy quick reads
Nancy H
I thought this was a good travel-journal book, although there were a few places that I wanted more details. It was entertaining and enlightening, especially the part about walking/running with the puma. I found myself asking why anyone would put themselves through that, but this author certainly had the answer to that with his very willing attitude.
Apr 19, 2013 Amu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lighthearted and highly enjoyable traveller's tale. Allison writes engagingly of those he meets in his eighteen month sojourn and his interest in the fauna around him is infectious. His willingness to take crazy risks and do whatever it takes to find out about, and fit in with, those he meets makes him the best kind of traveller to read about!
Feb 02, 2013 Karla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another entertaining book by Peter Allison. I had read his previous two books in between safaris in Tanzania and found this book to be just as vivid and engaging even though I have never been to most of the places he wrote about. If you like Bill Bryson, travel writing, or simply good story-telling, I recommend this book!
Cat Chiappa
This was a fast, fun read, though I didn't enjoy it as much as his other two books. However, I like the voice that he writes with and I appreciate how he can write both humorous and heartfelt anecdotes. He is a great voice for conservation and someone I would love to go on safari with in the future.
Jan 08, 2012 Truitti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy Allison's adventures and his wild life as well as personal knowledge lessons. He makes me laugh and I enjoy walking with him through the places I am too chicken to explore on my own. Just call me cluck cluck. I also read this as an ebook on my Sony reader. Woo hoo. And I love Roy.
Another fun animal adventure-related travelogue by this former African safari guide, this time outlining his 18 months exploring South America. Allison has a humourous, if slightly self-deprecating, writing style, but most importantly he allows his love for wild animals and places to come through.
A good read, but it didn't resonate with me the way the first two books did. The author is a likeable guy, very similar in style to Mathew Polly (Except Polly is writing about martial arts) you'd have a beer with both guys and listen to their stories all day.
Chris Leuchtenburg
Not nearly as funny and entertaining as his reminiscences of wildlife guiding in Botswana, Don’t Look Behind You. This set of occasionally droll episodes of his year and a half in South America seems forced, more of a hodgepodge of almost interesting experiences.
Aug 23, 2015 Christie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved Peters other books, but this one just didn't do it for me. I think perhaps he didn't have the same passion and experience of South America that he was able to use to bring Africa to life. A quick and funny read, but not what I'd hoped for.
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“I answered that I was sure, and he asked me again, and this time I understood his concern. ‘I’m not embarrassed!’ I said, or at least tried to say, before recalling that embarazada means something entirely different to ‘embarrassed’ and that I’d just wailed at the doctor that I wasn’t pregnant, something his medical training had presumably made evident to him.” 2 likes
“Just so you know,’ I explained, remembering my own earlier arrogance, ‘if you’ve ever owned a cat and therefore think you know how to handle a puma, you don’t. It would be like playing with sharks because you once owned a goldfish.” 2 likes
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