Maltaise's Reviews > Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman
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Aug 31, 2009

did not like it

** spoiler alert ** I wanted to like this book-I really did-I love travel stories and memoirs. However part way through the book I found myself almost despising the author. I have never run across such a narcissistic, selfish and self-absorbed author before. What ever made her write this story is incomprehensible. Susie as she is known in the book, gets the idea to hop around the globe off of a placemat at IHOP. Young, inexperienced and looking for adventure armed with The Lonely Planet she heads off to Hong Kong and then into China with her friend Claire. Susie does not hesitate to take advantage and use anyone who will make her trip easier. Given she had never travelled before she is rather shocked at what the world is about. That is why you are traveling. Her partner, either has a mental breakdown or starts to suffer from mental illness along the way. Susie is too self absorbed to realize this and chocks it up to Claire being jealous she has hooked up.
The amazing part is that after delivering her friend back to the US she returns to Asia, yet you do not hear one word about the rest of the trip-just a lot of whining about China, foreigners and how hard China was. She really should have stayed home. Travelers like her are why foreigners are not to keen on visitors.

I have been to every continent and spent 3 weeks in China years ago. Aside from the fact that there is lots of rice served it is not as bad as she made it seem. It was my first Asian country out of 4 that I have been to. And yes I have had the experience of waking up to a snake in my bed and rats in the rafters. If I wanted my own bed then I should have stayed home.
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06/08/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Lisa Even though I really did like this book, I also really like your review. I do agree with your take on the author. Yes, she is a bit self-absorbed. Okay, maybe more than a bit... But after reading Eat, Pray, Love I guess I have a new definition of self-absorbed :) I am really, really sorry to hear about the snake in your bed, but glad to see it didn't ruin your take on Asia. A good review, thanks :)


message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara I agree....a pathetic story and a waste of time reading this book.


Maltaise Barbara wrote: "I agree....a pathetic story and a waste of time reading this book."

snake in the bed -was disgusting but it is a good story-and my friend and I can laugh about it now. I have a friend who had a snake in her house-managed to trap it under a bowl and then took it outdoors-that is more than I would do with one.


Lester I love this review! It's chock full of the "travel shaming" we all see at the tourist hotels and which was alluded to in the book. No backpacker ever meets another backpacker that can travel as well as they can!


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