13/01/2014

Book Review: Getting Rooted In New Zealand by Jamie Baywood.

Recounting experiences from a trip to New Zealand, Jamie Baywood pens a novel, brilliantly fast-paced, rich with humor and highly informative. The one book that would make you think again about planning an 'ultimate' escapade.

Blurb: Craving change and lacking logic, at 26, Jamie, a cute and quirky Californian, impulsively moves to New Zealand to avoid dating after reading that the country’s population has 100,000 fewer men. In her journal, she captures a hysterically honest look at herself, her past and her new wonderfully weird world filled with curious characters and slapstick situations in unbelievably bizarre jobs. It takes a zany jaunt to the end of the Earth and a serendipitous meeting with a fellow traveler before Jamie learns what it really means to get rooted.

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"Your family seems to have a lot of stomach problems.” I said to Gretchen.

“Yeah, my mum has a giant scar on her stomach from waking up during surgery from getting her appendix out, and my brother has been constipated for over eight years.”

“What? Your brother hasn’t pooed for eight years? How’s that possible? How old is he?”

"He’s ten. No, he has pooed. It’s just after he was potty trained when he was two, he only poos in his pants now.”

“That’s not constipation, that’s something else. You should take him to the doctor.”

“We have. He has ADHD. He’s so hyper when he comes over to my house; I just lock him in the bathroom."

"I guess that’s a good place to keep him with his condition."

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This book was fantastic. Nothing short of it. It's fun to know all the penned down had happened. Nothing but the truth. Wriiten in a form of a journal entry, it's so hilarious when you figure this time you've hit rock bottom, sitting on your butt and wondering how you can move on, then all of a sudden jetting away to a place where no one knows you so you could start afresh seems superb, but your destination wasn't as you thought it was and you wound up in a shitty country with a shitty economy with not much to brag about in the 'American Junk Food' department and you are stuck with eating what isn't close to healthy either. You want to move back into your country but you think you can make it all work, "It's cake." you keep telling yourself. The thought of failure drives you on and on even though you share cubicle walls with co-workers who send pics of their dicks taken from various ranges (nothing bothers much when that weiner in concern is ugly and teeny and weenie), and a workplace where no one gets your jokes, a boss whose mouth reeks of the habitat of a dead mouse yet won't stop to consider mouth-spray when they think it's OK yelling at you for something which they are clearly responsible for. Then when you ever think of really leaving, you can't, not because the US universal tax law for work-abroad citizens is the best idea govt over the years implemented, but you have made some very good friends, had the most hilarious experiences, found yourself and most importantly found the most charming man with a thong-dropping Scottish accent. Worse of all, you are not sure what labels to put on this relationship, but you are sure when you stick around, and chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, answers might come soon.

It's Eat. Pray. Love gone Cheat. Pay. Sort of Love. But you would love it for all the laughter it will bring you, the truth that's been lurking on the surface untold (like why everyone hates America when she's in charge of bailing them out of financial woes), and why you should be thankful you are not living another country's dream.

With a heroine you can relate to, (I mean, who hasn't hit rock bottom and felt like escaping? Who hasn't fallen in love in another country/state and fought hard to be with the person? Who hasn't craved Ben and Jerry's being in another country? Who hasn't struggled with confusing foreign accents? And most importantly, who hasn't dealt with words that have totally different/embarrassing meanings elsewhere?) it's fascinating we make such a connection with our lead that whatever emotion she's going through we feel for her. I don't know if it's because it's non-fiction or it's because she was well-written, but even if she's sex-deprived we all relate to her and kinda feel horny too (if my dad appears around the block, I DO NOT OWN THIS BLOG!).

The characters in this book are just so hilarious. From Jamie herself, the heroine who tells jokes you'd want to laugh at and hit your head against something in the process but wouldn't because everyone else in the room is glaring at her. To the paralympics sports promoter who could have been a prospective date except with one teeny problem about Jamie's roommates coming in to carry him onto her bed and allow her have her way with him. Barry, the dickhead who distributes professionally taken pictures of his dick around the office and tries convincing Jamie into escorting him buy a (crotchless) pantyhose. Gretchen the co-worker whose rough childhood (accidents) would get you guffawing. There was Grant, the sweet, sensitive, Scottish boyfriend who you would all envy about Jamie's life (I didn't despite my colorful description). All these characters and so much more I couldn't catch up with made this book one blast of entertaining.

Together we roll with Jamie till she makes that fulfilling decision that would change her life forever. Including her single status.

But while I would give it a five star elsewhere, I have to be honest about its shaky start. Struggled at the opening chapter to get to love, love it. But I did eventually.

So, my rating stands at a 4.5 star.

Jamie Baywood's hilarious travel memoir is available on Amazon in both kindle and Paperback.

I recommend this book to anyone whose ever thought of jetting away at the slightest problem. Anyone who loves crossing borders to find out how people are living (or is coping a more appropriate term?). Anyone overseas who has the feeling other internationals don't like them and judge based on a nationality label. You looking for sweet ooey-gooey love? This is your kinda kindle/paperback. More importantly, anyone who wants to have a fantastic time laughing so hard they beg for a refund when they can't take it anymore.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads and Amazon.

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