Andie's Reviews > The Lunatic Express: Discovering the World... via Its Most Dangerous Buses, Boats, Trains, and Planes

The Lunatic Express by Carl Hoffman
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's review
Apr 24, 2010

really liked it

While I quite enjoyed this book and flew through it, I found it to be a bit uneven at first. I felt as if it started off slow and unsteady- his journey down to South America via the Chinatown bus and then a notoriously bad airline via Toronto was glossed over in just a few sentences. It took a while to build up momentum... this happened slowly throughout his journey through South America, and for me at least didn't really pick up until his arrival in Africa. That's when things really started to come together, detail-laden, a really story as opposed to some detail here, a glossed over experience there. For instance, I wish he'd spent more time describing his leg of the trip he took with his daughter in a bit more depth and detail.

What I felt added a lot to the book, despite the occasional unevenness, was the fact that this particular tale was so personalized. Sometimes in nonfiction it seems the injection of too much personality can hinder the tale; in this case, it was very much enhanced by it. While primarily an account of traveling the world via its most inexpensive and dangerous methods, it felt very much like a memoir of this particular time in the author's life. His connections to his unfamiliar surroundings and strange people are particularly enjoyable to read about.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Joel You nailed it on the bit about South America. I almost quit reading the book by the end of that section, but decided to read one more section and was glad I did.

John I thought South America was a weak start, too!

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