Book Review—The Moaning of Life

Posted by on Jan 11, 2014 in Book Reviews | 0 comments

The Moaning of Life

The Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington

Author: Karl Pilkington
Title: The Moaning of Life: The Worldly Wisdom of Karl Pilkington
Genre: Travel-Comedy-Documentary
Buy it at: Amazon
My Rating: 5 stars!

 

 

 

Blurb:

Karl Pilkington is back on the road, and this time he’s on a journey of self-discovery, in The Moaning of Life, the follow-up to An Idiot Abroad

Karl Pilkington is 40 years old. He’s not married, he doesn’t have kids, and he has a job where he’s known as an “idiot.” It’s time for him to take stock and face up to life’s big question—what does it all mean? Karl is no stranger to travel, and now he’s off on a series of madcap adventures around the globe to find out how other cultures approach life’s big issues. Traveling from far-flung tribes to high-tech cities, Karl experiences everything from a drive-through wedding in Las Vegas to a vocational theme park in Japan. He meets a group of people in Mexico who find happiness through pain, attends a clowning school in Los Angeles, and even encounters a woman in Bali who lets him help deliver her baby. Have his experiences changed him? Find out in this hilarious new book where Karl shares his stories and opinions in his inimitable style.

Review:

I first met Karl Pilkington via his globetrotting BBC series An Idiot Abroad 2: The Bucket List. In that gem of a show, hapless homebody Karl travels the far reaches of the earth to dive into adventures that most people can only dream about—and he hates it. That’s the show’s appeal—a grumbly moaner who’d be happier eating biscuits in front of the television is forced into situations and experiences that he often finds torturous. The results are hilarious.

To be honest, I only initially tuned into the show because of Ricky Gervais—I do love me some Rickey Gervais—who, along with Stephen Merchant, acts as Karl’s devilish travel agent, casting Karl into unexpected escapades with impish zeal. At the time, I had no idea who Karl was, and my first impression of him wasn’t a good one. “My god, what a little whiner!” I said to my wife. “Who’d want to watch THIS guy?!” But his unique perspective, appalled reactions, and effortless quips won me over, and I was dying to see what he hated next. My absolute favorite moment was when he traveled to Vanatau—birth place of the bungee jump—and he land-dived from a rickety wooden tower while surrounded by tribesmen who had “their knobs in wicker.” I was in tears after that “dive,” and I laughed about it for hours later.

Needless to say, I became a huge fan, devouring all three seasons of Idiot Abroad. And when I heard about Moaning of Life, I snatched up the book, eager to see if Karl’s worldly exploits would translate to the written word.

For the most part, the book succeeds in capturing the essence of Karl’s quirky travels as he cavorts among various cultures and customs. There are full page images of the interesting people he meets along with conversation excerpts where you can almost hear their accents. He tags along with a private investigator in India, he refuses to eat off a half-naked woman’s body in Africa, he darts across hot coals in Nevada—all the while providing commentary that is uniquely Karl. For fans of Idiot Abroad, it is a continuance of that show and provides nearly as much entertainment, the major change being that Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are no longer pulling the strings. Karl is flying solo here, free to delve into experiences of his own choosing and eliminate the things that “do his head in.” For that reason, I feel that Moaning lacks a little of the bite that Idiot had, but it is still an amusing and horizon-expanding romp across this big blue marble.

Bravo, Karl.

Get the book here.

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