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My 'Dam Life: Three Years in Holland
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My 'Dam Life: Three Years in Holland

3.27  ·  Rating Details ·  273 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Thirtysomething Australian humorist, writer, and advertising hack Condon moved to the Netherlands in 1998 with his half-Dutch wife. Their subsequent trials and tribulations are vividly recounted in this witty prose.
Paperback, 245 pages
Published February 1st 2003 by Lonely Planet
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(showing 1-30)
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Liz De Coster
Oct 26, 2013 Liz De Coster marked it as abandoned
Abandoned due to extreme dislike of the narrator. I am perhaps not in a place (personally) to read coy, tongue-in-cheek descriptions of an underachiever living abroad. I mostly wanted to shake him and tell him to grow up. If this book were made into a film, I'd bet Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen would be involved.
Jul 30, 2007 Wealhtheow rated it it was ok
He’s not as funny as he thinks he is, but I was interested enough in his source material to battle through his schtick.
May 17, 2010 WiscJennyAnn rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book-- a lay-about ex-pat trying to make a go of it in Amsterdam? What's not to like? (It bears some resemblance to my life, after all!) But the stream of consciousness writing kept getting worse, more random and detached the longer it kept going. And by the end I was just relieved to have them get on that plane. I found Sean mildly funny, his wife more funny and the collection of characters entertaining enough. Also, on a number of occasions I felt a surge of happin ...more
Dec 31, 2011 Spiros rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those with a tolerance for facetiousness
Shelves: gifteduponme
In the middle of my winter's dose of Trollope novels, half way through the Palliser series: this is a kind of amuse-bouche between heaping plates of Victorian fiction. Condon's account of three years in Holland is by turns amusing and tedious, much as I suppose three years living in Holland would be. His descriptions of dealing with Dutch bureaucracy, and with Amsterdam's strange fauna, both autochthonous and ex-pat, are pretty droll, his constant whinging about his own purposeless and mortality ...more
Pat Jennings
Nov 29, 2015 Pat Jennings rated it liked it
Three years in Amsterdam with his lovely wife, Sally, Sean Condon's sarcastic humor is entertaining. Until it is not. I found this book to start out a bit like a Bill Bryson read but then goes every which way. I had high hopes to learn so much Amsterdam. I learned with delight there are many dogs. The owners do not clean up after them. There are numerous barber/beauty shops, unsavory food, and interesting plumbing. There was little positive information about the "Venice of the North". From that ...more
Joel Neff
Aug 11, 2008 Joel Neff rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ex-pats.
My 'Dam Life is Condon's account of living in Amsterdam for three years with his wife and a revolving cast of friends and co-workers. Like many travel books, there is little in the way of plot, the book is instead a linear progression of events throughout which the author tries to show us just why he likes living in one of the most expensive cities in Europe.

The book is fun, although not at the level of his previous ones, and has a few moments of honest introspection and epiphany. However, the p
Nov 29, 2014 Andrea rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel
I didn't even finish the last two chapters. I'm not seeking spiritual enlightenment, merely entertainment and a bit of insight into another culture. But Condon's deprecating style and the fact that he is essentially a wastrel without the ability to plan irritates me no end. Pass on this one. And I probably won't pick up his other 2 travel memoirs, either, which is a shame as they sounded interesting. But as he's the central character in each one -- nah.
Feb 06, 2016 MostlyHarmless rated it liked it
Generally entertaining. The book is a snapshot of one Australian man's life in Amsterdam around the turn of the 21st century. It drags at various points and I found myself bored with both the writing and the writer at times. The author was in his mid-30's at the time but he comes across as lazy, immature, and self-absorbed. The better aspects of the book are getting a view of Dutch life and culture from the perspective of an outsider.
Josh Kinal
Jan 05, 2009 Josh Kinal rated it really liked it
I think one of the big problems with describing this book is that it's not a travel book. It's a personal account of one man's time spent in Amsterdam. As such I think it's a hilarious and fascinating look into the mind of the writer.

There are some amazing stories in here and it takes the reader through an emotional roller coaster. Rather than just describing Amsterdam and how amazingly liberal it is, we get to see what it's like for a foreigner to live there with all its difficulties and specif
Mar 13, 2008 veronica rated it liked it
I'm headed to the Netherlands this summer and picked up this book for a bit of a larf and for some background about a country about which I know nothing (other than, like, tulipmania and the Van Goghs through the ages). It was comforting to know that some people head to a new country knowing even less than that.

Sean Condon is a funny guy and I got several excellent snorts and guffaws out of it. But on the whole the book was all right, just a pleasant diversion. The slightly hackneyed, oh-we-lear
May 12, 2014 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Funniest book ever (especially if you have ever been to the Netherlands and/or know any Dutch people). I read this a thousand years ago, don't know why I never rated it!
Aug 29, 2010 Sandi rated it it was amazing
I quite enjoyed reading Sean Condon's self-deprecating humor. Some of his descriptions of daily life -- like taking a shower -- were so funny that I almost fell out of bed! I just got back from spending just two weeks in the Netherlands (almost everywhere except Amsterdam), read the book post-trip, and I can tell you that many of his expereinces with Dutch culture ring true. I enjoyed the tidbits he shared as much as I did pannenkoeken or oude kaas.
Michael Scott
Jun 02, 2009 Michael Scott rated it liked it
Shelves: travelit
Great travelit for a short ride... I read this one between Delft and London via Schiphol (and back), and did not regret a single minute of the otherwise idle time. The book is a humorous account of what it means to be living in Netherlands, though the story is as much about NL as about the tonsils of the author, the escapades of the author, the down-underness of the author, the ... you get the message. Not thrilling, but fun and interesting.
Allison Floyd
Jun 21, 2008 Allison Floyd rated it liked it
Shelves: mediocrity-rules
I'm (temporarily) moving to the Netherlands in September. So, when I happened upon this book at the library, I said (silently, as it was the library), why not. It was a quick, entertaining, if not terribly illuminating, read. There were a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, although the author's self-deprecating shtick wore thin pretty quickly, as it's not especially convincing. Still, not a bad way to while away a lazy summer day or two.
Jul 04, 2007 Erin rated it liked it
A friend gave me this and I had nothing else to read. The author and his wife leave their native Australia to live in Amsterdam. The eventually fall in love with the city as a temporary job leads to the search for a more permanent one.

Never been to the Netherlands and didn't know anything about them previously. The author was funny about some of the quirkiness of living in Amsterdam. Not a bad book.
Jul 26, 2011 Janice rated it liked it
Had to reread this (I think it's the only book about living there on my shelves) now that I've actually experienced Amsterdam, its manic cyclists, abundance of tourists, etc., etc. Not as good as Sean & David's Long Drive or Drive Thru America, but it hit the spot.
Aug 08, 2013 Katrina rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but unfortunately I thought the author was just a big whiner. I wanted more information about Amsterdam and the expat life there, and less about the author's personal problems. I just didn't connect to him.
Dec 28, 2010 Alex rated it really liked it
Amsterdam is my favourite city and I've often thought I'd like to live there one day. This book gives an insight into the advantages and pitfalls of doing so, whilst also giving a humorous insight into the Dutch psyche. Very enjoyable.
Jul 25, 2011 Tori added it
2009- Some very funny bits, but not hilarious. It was the best book I've read on The Netherlands, but I don't know if that's saying much or not. I'd be willing to check out his other work.
Jan 10, 2009 Allison rated it it was amazing
Loved how this author depicts life in Amsterdam. I read this while I was living in Germany and I could totally relate to the silly little things you notice from other cultures.
Oct 10, 2007 Jenny rated it really liked it
Very funny! Chronicles the author's relocation to Amsterdam from Australia, and his adventures trying to find a job and an apartment as an outsider in another culture.
Jun 08, 2012 JDK1962 rated it liked it
Amusing...but a bit pointless. Lots of unemployment and drinking. One doesn't actually get to know Amsterdam, or the Netherlands, from this book.
Aug 07, 2011 Kari rated it liked it
I love the way Sean Condon wrote this, because it gave me a look into life abroad and how it isn't always glamourous.
Pru Shady
Jul 14, 2008 Pru Shady rated it really liked it
I read this before moving to the Netherlands. I am not sure what it really prepared me for - but it was worth a read.
Feb 19, 2013 Al rated it liked it
A bit scattered and disjointed, but enough dry humor (just my type) to keep me reading through to the end.
Apr 17, 2012 Lily rated it really liked it
An authentic and hilarious account of the excitement + frustrations of expat life in Amsterdam.
Aug 23, 2016 M.E.G. rated it it was ok
2 1/2. Wanted more Netherlands life than the author's life, I suppose...
Oct 11, 2007 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: truestuff
I like the style of Condon's writing. Funny stories.
Erin Miller
Jun 26, 2011 Erin Miller is currently reading it
love his sense of humor!
Sep 28, 2010 Ash rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
funny, funny book.
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Since 1996 I have published seven books, beginning with the genre-busting travelogue 'Sean & David's Long Drive' up to 2013's comic novel 'Splitsville', my most accomplished work so far. I've also had work in many anthologies, including 'The Best of McSweeney's Humor'. I also co-wrote an episode of an excellent and very funny sitcom which was made into a non-excellent and mostly terrible pilot ...more
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