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A Pirate Looks at Fifty
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A Pirate Looks at Fifty

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  2,359 ratings  ·  175 reviews
In honor of his fiftieth birthday, the popular singer-songwriter and author shares a collection of reminiscences about his life, tracing his odyssey from reporter to musical success and offering insights into such topics as plane crash survival, therapy, and starting a band
Paperback, 448 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by Fawcett Books (first published June 2nd 1998)
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This was a fun read. It took a while to get going on it, but then the pages just flew by. It recounts the Caribbean trip Jimmy took, along with family and friends, in celebration of his fiftieth birthday. Jimmy often tells the tale of his first trip to a particular spot and sometimes what prompted his wish to visit the area. When historical sites are visited, Jimmy provides an interesting bit of related history. There are great flying tales and fishing tales. I thought there could have been fewe ...more
Oddly enough, this was an incredibly interesting and profoundly boring book at the same time. The story unfolds as Jimmy Buffett, now turning 50, is preparing for a tour of the Caribbean. It reads almost as a travel guide, interspersed with flashbacks in the form of short stories of his more adventurous past. The short interesting chapters of adventure are constantly interrupted by pages upon pages of tedium. For example, the entire chapter devoted to his search for the perfect backpack to carry ...more
A globe trotting reminiscence by Jimmy Buffet. Not my normal read at all, but I do like some of his music & it was interesting. He gets side tracked a lot, which makes it better. We get a pretty good & honest over view of his life as he tells us about his 50th birthday & the trip he took to celebrate it. Within a few months of that age myself, I found it entertaining.
Never could stand Buffett and the whole Parrothead phenomenon. His good-old-boy schtick has always struck me as incredibly calculated. He's aw-shucks-ing it all the way to the bank. The book is just more self-aggrandizement.
M.A. Kropp
I’ve been a fan of Buffett’s music for a long time. Some of it is just pure fun, and others cut a bit closer to Life. I have tried to make Changes in Lattitudes, Changes in Attitudes an anthem for myself, and Trying to Reason With Huurricane Season is another I find inspiring. So I have wanted to read his autobiography for a long time.

The exoskeleton, if you will, of the book is the occasion of Buffett’s 50th birthday on Christmas Day, 1996. It is part autobiography, part travelogue, and all fas
Aaron Marvel
I read about 80% of this book about 5 years ago, and for reasons that are unclear to me, I put it down. So, fast forward to now, and I have finally finished this book. A truly enlightening read about one of my most favorite musicians of all time. No surprise, he lives a pretty exciting life, and one that makes me long for the time and fortune that only few and select successful careers seems to afford. For, having the time and the money is half the battle. A theme of life we all know too well, i ...more
Jimmy Buffett is my favorite musician of all-time, hands down. His music always makes me long to lay on the beach with a boat drink and his book gave me the same intense longing. It was certainly not a typical autobiography that starts at the beginning and moves chronologically through the author's life. Instead, Jimmy primarily recounts on the trip he took with his family to celebrate his 50th birthday. Interspersed into his detailed descriptions of flight plans and fishing trips are little fla ...more
Being a huge Jimmy Buffett fan I wanted to like this book, but I had to force myself to finish it. While there is a lot of good stuff here, the writing is too often very dry and didn't hold my attention. It isn't without its adventurous moments, but sadly they are too few and far between. I like Buffett as a storyteller, but his ability to turn a tale is almost totally lacking here. None of the characters he meets in his travels are treated with any flare or presented colorfully. As for his phil ...more
This was just ok. The first 150 pages was tedious because it dwelled on minute details of private planes, boats and fly fishing. He rambles a lot and takes you two stories away from what he started to tell you. He will eventually come back around, but you have to hang on for all the subject changes. I enjoyed the part about his lean years and the parts about his wife, kids, close friends and the places he has vacationed. He has at least 2 more books that he has alluded to in this one. I am not s ...more
There are some nice moments here, where Jimmy talks about how hard it was to get started and about his misadventures in his early days. Other than that, though, it's a disgusting "I'm so great, I have money, everyone knows who I am" love letter to himself.
I've been listening to Radio Margaritaville and saw this book at the library. There was way too much flying and fishing in the book for me. I skimmed much of it and skipped a lot.

One quote I liked:

"Bargaining should not be a part of life after fifty. By that time you know whether you can afford something or not."

Also the books Jimmy would take to a desert island:

The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn by Mark Twain
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Don't Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk
Winds fr
Jul 16, 2009 Adam rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pirates, Sailors, Islanders, Seaplane Pilots, Parrotheads, Rum Runners
Flying around the Caribbean, Central, and South America in a beautiful seaplane, sipping rum 'boat drinks,' fishing remote locations and generally being treated like a rockstar? Who wouldn't want to be Jimmy Buffett!

To be honest, and I feel bad saying this after finishing the book, I have never really been a 'fan' of this guitar wielding pirate, simply because, well, I haven't really been exposed to much to his music. As a kid, I remember my brother and I both loving to read Buffett's Caribbean
Dave Hanna
Like many people my age, I first became aware of Buffett thanks to the song "Margaritaville" and the album Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude. And while I have never denied enjoying his raucous party tunes, over the years I have come to appreciate and even prefer his quieter, more introspective songs. With lyrics such as "...painting liquid brushstrokes like Renoir" ("Beautiful Swimmers") and "...then sent me a smile as she reached for Flaubert" ("Love in the Library"), you know the man is ...more
Paul Hahn
I was given this book. Thus I did not know what to expect.

Reading the first couple of pages, I thought "oh, my - an autobiography. I hope it isn't boring".

I kept on reading. This book is really two autobiographies: One is about his three week trip around Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Intermixed in that story are bits about his youth and events surrounding him becoming "Jimmy Buffet, the Famous Singer guy".

I read the whole thing not for story #2 -- there are fascinating bits t
Finally finished Jimmy Buffett's A Pirate Looks at Fifty - I'm not sure why it took so long, as it's divvied up into nice bite-sized pieces ... probably influenced by his umpteen years as songwriter and performer

He chronicles a trip around the Caribbean, primarily flying his Grumman Albatross (photos - tho not of his) and occasionally meeting up with his wife and two younger children. He intersperses this travelogue with memoirs, sometimes tied in to where he is, other times not. He talks fondly
Randy Patton
This book is half autobiography, half travel journal. Buffett definitely puts you in a nice frame of mind to relax. This book mainly follows Jimmy and his family while he gives himself a fiftieth birthday present with a trip through the Caribbean. His descriptions made me want to visit these places. Jimmy does talk quite a bit about his two passions (planes and fishing). Sometimes these parts are a bit boring, but not overly so. As a Parrothead, this was a fun read.
For the amazing feat of not dying before he hit fifty, Jimmy Buffett decided he deserved a really good birthday present. So, he bought himself a seaplane and flew it and his family around the Carribean.

Part memoir and part boy's adventure tale, this book of Jimmy's travels reminds me why this guy is one of my heroes and makes me want to leave my comfy home ( especially now that winter is coming) and go see the world.

Jimmy is still a storyteller at heart, so while he brings people and places aliv
A great read! I’m not a “Parrot Head but I've always liked Buffett's music filled with neat lyrics and calypso beats. Guess that’s the tropical side of me! Growing up in Miami, surfing (on mini waves), fishing all over and enjoying the islands of the Keys, made Buffet’s story of his awesome journey through the tropics to celebrate his 50th birthday very real to me. The book was published in year 2000 so it was kind of neat to realize a music icon from my past was close in age to me! It was fun t ...more
I'm an avid parrothead, and, as such, I enjoyed this book more for its glimpses into Buffett's early life than for his chronicle of his Caribbean odyssey. I can't help but note the irony of a man who has built a commercial empire that encompasses print, music, restaurants and retail bemoaning the commercialization of the tropics. However, the thing that keeps it from making the book seem preachy or a yawn is the fact that I can see how Buffett is willing to profit from it while still seeing that ...more
Joey Francisco
This book is for me, both a bittersweet and sentimental journey of a lifetime. When I first began reading this book, I was pregnant, and very ill and had to be hospitalized.

During my hospitalization, I was so sick, I could not read anymore, so my wonderful father read the remainder of this book to me.

It is a magical book, filled with lovely recollections and stories. Typical of Jimmy, it's paradise between two covers.

Sadly nine months after my father read this book aloud to me, during my time of
This was a typically unique Jimmy Buffett experience whereby he weaves his personal "songline" into an entertaining narrative to be enjoyed by Parrotheads, fishermen, "flying boat captains", and anybody with an adventurous spirit! It may not be a literary masterpiece, but it's a lot of fun!

In another review, I read that this is more of a man's book since most women wouldn't be interested in fishing or seaplanes. As a woman, I found these sections very interesting. Granted, flying planes and fish
I've read this book twice. I read it the first time when I was 17 and again this past summer when I was 22. This is definitely a book to be read and savored when older. I enjoyed it when I was 17 - it had a lot of adventure, something I wanted at the time, but I just didn't have the life experience needed to truly appreciate it. Reading it last summer was amazing because I not only still loved the adventure and the stories, but I also had my own travels and experiences to compare it with. I have ...more
Janie Ewell
I read this book after I gave it to my husband for Christmas (yes, I read it before him). Oh well --- I was in the mood for some easy, fun reading that I could relate to as I head toward 50 and live in Florida. It was an interesting read in that Jimmy Buffett explains some of his childhood years as background that I was not aware of --- and he shared his love of Colorado as well as his love of latitudes and attitudes. It was a light read -- but still okay. Most interesting was his tale of his ne ...more
Paul Peterson
Nice little summer read about hopping around some of South America and the Caribbean. Some flying, some fishing and some reminiscing with Jimmy about his life and career with some of the history of these places thrown in.

Light, entertaining reading.
An amusing combination of autobiography and life coach; Jimmy Buffett provides a partial manual on how to lead a fulfilling life, while detailing his 50th birthday trip around the Caribbean. As Buffett visits Costa Rica, Manaus Brazil, and the Leeward Islands, the reader gets an insight into the attitude and mindset behind the originator of the Parrothead lifestyle.

Lighthearted, a great vacation or beach read; I nonetheless struggled with the very clear economic advantages Buffett now has, and h
Sarah Sammis
I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir. Buffett wrote it during a family vacation to the Carribbean and South America over Christmas 1996 and New Years 1997. The trip inspired memories of his childhood and of other trips and he weaves these stories into the book. There are also wonderful asides about geography, history, movies, fiction and of course, music. Some of my favorite pieces of the memoir were the times he spent with his then 2 1/2 year old son Cameron. As a parent of a now 3 1/2 year son, I ...more
Aug 11, 2007 Steven rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parrot heads & travelers
Jimmy Buffet writes an fun memoir that chronicles his trip down to South America and adds memories from his life which are pretty interesting. His basic philosophy in life comes through and it makes you think about your own path you've chosen and what you could be doing - plus he bashes the Catholic church a lot for making him feel guilty for the first 20 years of his life, and gives a funny description of himself and all his friends getting off drugs and wondering what to do with the state of c ...more
This was fun - basically sailing and fishing and flying around the Caribbean with Jimmy and his family as he takes his "oh-my-god-I'm-fifty" birthday trip and shares reminiscences and stories along the way. He is a darn good storyteller, and it is a kick to get a glimpse into his life with his two young children and the wealth to have LOTS of help and company for his adventures. For which he repeatedly expresses gratitude to his fans (all of us "parrotheads") for dropping enough dimes to make hi ...more
Dayna Smith
For his fiftieth birthday Jimmy and family decide to take a trip through the Caribbean and South America, including stops in Costa Rica, Brazil, Columbia, and a score of islands. This delightful travelogue allows all Parrotheads to go along for the ride. Buffett also brings in moments from the past and intertwines them with the present. You will find yourself wanting to head south on your own. All Buffett fans will love this look into the life of their favorite singer/songwriter/adventurer.
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James William "Jimmy" Buffett (born December 25, 1946) is a singer, songwriter, author, businessman, and recently a movie producer best known for his "island escapism" lifestyle and music including hits such as "Margaritaville" (No. 234 on RIAA's list of "Songs of the Century"), and "Come Monday". He has a devoted base of fans known as "Parrotheads". His band is called the Coral Reefer Band.

More about Jimmy Buffett...
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“One of the inescapable encumbrances of leading an interesting life is that there have to be moments when you almost lose it.” 68 likes
“later down the road of life, i made the discovery that salt water was also good for the mental abrasions one inevitably acquires on land.” 28 likes
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