Book Review: Curse of the Travel Bug (Book 1: Stuck in Paradise) by Chris Keith

I stumbled across this book while looking for bargains for Kindle reads, and was intrigued by the idea of a guy who would get kind of addicted to the traveling/backpacking way of life, and as it only cost 77p I decided to download it.

I was overcharged.

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This has to be one of the most disappointing reads I’ve had in a long time, it’s the first installment in an 8 part series, with each part being an extremely short book, but I can’t see why anyone would continue with Keith’s story.

It’s all written in a rather lackluster way, Keith doesn’t provide any real insight into the country he visits and there’s no wit or beauty in his writing at all.

The major problem is that it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I’d imagined that the book would be about a guy travelling around the world with some funny stories along the way. But what Keith essentially does is arrive in Thailand, gets a job in a bar and stays in one place for most of the book.

He complains about his living conditions and the unattractive ladyboys, makes one attempt to move onto another destination only to return for reasons I can’t quite understand. There are no amusing anecdotes, it’s just essentially one long description of an extended holiday written in workmanlike fashion.

The closest it comes to insight is when Keith realizes, rather slowly, that the bar he’s working with is actually used by local prostitutes as a pick up joint. It seems as though this is going to kick off a crisis of conscience, but it never quite takes off, and Keith continues to work there, although he does point out that he chatted to the prostitutes like they were human beings and was never a customer.

When Keith returns home to the UK he comes closest to insight, as he describes the way your holiday/traveling glow slowly drains away as you get back into regular life, but it just feels a bit weird given the source. He’s fed up working a crummy job in Britain and wants to travel, but it seems as though that’s what his experiences in Thailand was like, only warmer.

It all just feels a little too guarded, as though Keith worries about how he’s going to come across, either that or he had the most boring overseas trip I’ve ever heard about.

Verdict: Weak writing and lack of incident make this book something of a chore. At least it’s short. 2/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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