Tony'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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's review
Apr 03, 10

really liked it
bookshelves: read-2010
Read from March 25 to April 03, 2010

I was leery of this book, even after it was recommended to me by some friends. My hesitation came from seeing the author, Luke Dempsey, compared to Bill Bryson in one of the blurbs I read. I needn't have worried. Turns out, this is an interesting read, with the expected pleas for greater societal concern for the plight of the planet--with good reason. The trips that the memoir's trio of birders take, and the birds they seek, are the main focus here, but there are also larger themes as big as the America that provides the backdrop. Dempsey, a native Brit, now a naturalized American citizen, touches on the motifs of immigration (and migration), separation, companionship, citizenship, and motel experiences from hell. While, at times, Dempsey portrays himself as an intolerant misanthrope, most of his indignation is brought about by what he sees as injustices toward man and beast (and automobile). There are moments of sweetness, drama, natural wonder and beauty, and humor. And the sort of corduroy-jacketed tongue-in-cheekiness of Bryson is nowhere to be found--this book's comedy runs the gamut from sharp wit to poop jokes. Overall, a humorous pleasure to read, but I don't know if I'd want to take a birding trip with this trio, myself.

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