Mateo's Reviews > Smile When You're Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer

Smile When You're Lying by Chuck Thompson
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's review
Nov 01, 2009

it was ok
Read in January, 2009

Thompson's a smart and funny writer with some excellent and funky travel stories, a jaundiced worldview, and precious little respect for sacred cows. So points for that. But the book's basically a concatenation of what-shall-I-piss-on-now rants wrapped in lad-magazine snarkiness. Here's a short list, from memory, of some of the things that Thompson dislikes: travel magazines, feminists, Dallas, Eric Clapton, travel writers, expats, locals, the Caribbean, and American teachers (for complaining about low pay and long hours when, apparently, they should feel blessed that they're not hauling dung buckets in Calcutta). Thompson has got basically one gear--in Paul Nelson's memorable phrase on a different subject entirely, "his machine subtracts, but it doesn't add up"--and that gear gets tedious. I don't care how funny and observant you are, 200 pages of "and here's ANOTHER thing" ranting will eventually sound like an eighty-year-old neighborhood drunk bitching about the music that kids listen to today. Although when it comes to Lady Gaga, I'm right there.
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07/18/2017 marked as: read

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message 1: by Tracy O (new)

Tracy O I'm right there with you, Babe. On ALL counts. I don't need to read this; however, if you'd played up his communist leanings you might have had me....

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