Jessica's Reviews > The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific

The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost
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Mar 05, 09

bookshelves: memoirs
Read in March, 2008

If I could give this book another half star, I would. It's an entertaining & thoughtful look at the life of an American on the Pacific island of Kiribati.

I guess I am at a point in my life where I can say with a certain confidence that I will never visit Kiribati myself. So, in the way that all travel writing tends to allow one to vicariously experience a place, this book satisfies. But there is a cynical, somewhat smug superiority in the way that island living is portrayed.

It's honest, and I recognize the impulse toward cynicism as a totally natural (and frankly: hilarious) one. It's a way to deal SOMEHOW with the discomfort and heartache that comes with seeing people you care about suffer through poverty and humiliation.

I've been there; someday soon I may be there again. But right now? Tonight? I want something an eensy bit more hopeful.

Best quote:

"The foreigners one meets tend to live life in a vivid and eccentric sort of way, and when you listen to their tales of high adventure in the South Seas, you find that you are subsequently ruined from a conversational point of view, that you can no longer even pretend to be remotely interested in someone's trip to the mall, or their thoughts about the stock market, or their opinions about the relative merit of a football player, and soon you will be branded as aloof, simply because once, on a faraway island, you heard some pretty good stories."
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