John's Reviews > A Supremely Bad Idea: Three Mad Birders and Their Quest to See It All

A Supremely Bad Idea by Luke Dempsey
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Sep 21, 08

Read in September, 2008

This is a remarkably good first book, written in a style that is reminiscent of Bill Bryson. In his search for rarely seen birds, Luke Dempsey and the married couple who befriend him (and take advantage of the fact that he drives, because they don't) travel to Arizona, Florida, Michigan, the Pacific Northwest, Texas and Colorado as well as the Northeast, where they live (mostly in NYC). In the process, they see a lot of birds and stay an a succession of bad motels.
Beginning birders like me are sure to like this book; serious birders might be less interested. If you have no interest in birds at all but enjoy funny travel books, you still might like this. Like Bryson, Dempsey is occasionally preachy (he doesn't like the fact that we're destroying bird habitat, and he's certainly right about that; but he never mentions success stories such as the phenomenal comeback of the bald eagle) and often very funny.
What I didn't like:
1) Foul (not fowl) language. Not on every page, but occasional bursts of it.
2) The use of God as a proper noun, but with a lower-case g.
3) Overly casual use of the language, with "words" such as "ain't" and "kinda" popping in. Perhaps because Dempsey grew up in England, he thinks he has to write that way for Americans to understand him.
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