Theo Logos's Reviews > In Search of Captain Zero: A Surfer's Road Trip Beyond the End of the Road

In Search of Captain Zero by Allan Weisbecker
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May 26, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: bohemians-beats-hipsters, travel
Read in June, 2004

First let me say that I have never surfed, and other than watching Point Break, am ignorant of surfing culture. Likewise, I have never journeyed south of the border, and I certainly never was an international drug smuggler (though I have been known to inhale). That said, Mr. Weisbecker's writing put me right there, and made me feel that I was participating in these adventures. He vividly and viscerally described surfing to the point that I felt the rush, and almost tasted salt water. His recreation of a sense of place when describing Mexico and Central America reminded me of Mark Twain's best travel writing. And his recollections of his outrageous adventures in his youthful bandito smuggling days made me cry from laughing.(Even if these tales are exaggerated, as well they may be, only someone who knows what he is talking about could exaggerate so effectively.)
Beyond all the surfing, adventuring on the edge, and bandito hilarity, this book has a strong undercurrent of melancholy, a deep sadness that adds depth and realism to this rollicking adventure. Someone has complained that this book is just about a self-indulgent mid-life crisis. The author himself has admitted as much in his book. Yet the emotions and circumstances that bring a man to what we have chosen to call "mid-life crisis" are real, and nearly universal. Weibecker's genius is in the brutal honesty in which he communicates his own ambiguous emotional turmoil. Past a certain age, we all must find a way to live with the choices that we have made, and the bridges that we have burned, and that, at its core, is the heart of this book.
In Search of Captain Zero is engrossing, invigorating, hilarious, and sad. It is a swift read, and I was sorry when it was over. All in all, it is more than the sum of its parts, and I highly recommend it.
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