T.H. Waters'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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's review
May 28, 2012

it was ok

Dang. This book really bummed me out. It's one of the few that have come my way which I wish I wouldn't have read. It's billed as a humorous book about a dude who lived on a tiny island near the equator for a few years. Sure, it starts out funny enough. I did laugh during the descriptions about the author's mishap when a turd was relentlessly tracking him in the water during an afternoon ocean dip and again at his inescapable battle with the ubiquitous La Macarena song that incessantly blared from every house and shop on the island. But after awhile, J. Maarten's cavalier observations merely left a bad taste in my mouth rather than urging me to gleefully turn the pages. Observations like: considering eating one of his dogs (Brown Dog) for dinner after an islander suggested Brown Dog would be very tasty or finding a stray pup and trying to muster the courage to snap its neck then toss it in the ocean or this line about Princess Diana - "The government of Kiribati was well informed about all things Diana. I no longer cared about Princess Diana. She's dead. Let it go." I'm certainly no royal watcher, but come on. Taking jabs at Diana? Really? And I really love dogs, so I was mortified by his contemptuous attitude towards them. J. Maarten's view of the islanders themselves was just as nauseating. The only impression of them I now hold is that they are lazy slobs who don't give a damn about their jobs or their island and think nothing about living in absolute squalor. Oh, but they can sing well and dance, too. Um... what? Don't get me wrong. I love to laugh and have fun as much as anybody, but shock jock humor just isn't for me. My brand of humor is much more aligned with such fantastically written books as Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian." I had the same experience with J. Maarten Troost as I often do at a cocktail party when I'm stuck next to "that guy" who exudes self-importance and entitlement from every single one of his pores and loves to hear himself chatter so much that he doesn't even notice how bored I am - I figure out the most ingenious way to get the hell away from him.
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