"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Book Report: The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost

image from amazon.com

I really enjoyed this book. And it's nonfiction. I've only mentioned about a hundred times on this blog that nonfiction is not my genre of choice, but every once in awhile I give it a try, and I end up happy that I gave nonfiction a chance. The Sex Lives of Cannibals* is about Maarten and his girlfriend, Sylvia, and the two year adventure that begins when they decide to take a job and move across the world, literally. This book, while informative about the south pacific, more specifically the way of life on Kirabati and the surrounding atolls, it is also hilarious. However, the language is a bit rough. Mostly only in reference to feces but in many other occurrences as well. Oddly, the sex in this book is minimal and extremely mild. The title, again, hilarious.

Here are a few of my favorite parts:

And then a group of boys marched into the center of the maneaba and they looked like trouble. They wore droopy shorts. And bandannas around their heads. They glowered menacingly. Someone turned on a boom box and inside this maneaba, in the village of Ukiangang, on the island of Butaritari in the Gilbert Islands, Vanilla Ice was heard. Ice Ice Baby. The boys danced with that skippity-hop-look-I-have-no-shoulders thing that Vanilla Ice made his own. I glanced at the unimane. These were men who could recite their geneaologies back five hundred years and more, who knew hot to read the water and the sky, who knew how to build things as large as a maneaba without a nail, who knew, in short, how to survive on an equatorial atoll on the far side of the world. . .

In Europe, every town town has a memorial commemorating the townsmen who lost their lives in the two world wars. In America, every town has a Wal-Mart. Only on the Great Plains does one find the telling remnants of lives lived and lost, the abandoned homesteads that creak with forgotten stories, and the only reason those boards still stand is that the landscape is so bleak and foreboding that no one else wants to build there ever gain. Frankly -- and I mean no offense to the good people of North Dakota -- I can't believe you haven't all left yet.

Hmmm... Sylvia is not one for cussing. There were no windows in th aft compartment. A blue tarp had been pulled down to keep the rain out. Atenati and Bwenawa sat on the bench opposite looking equally miserable. Every few minutes, one of the three would poke their head underneath the tarp and over the railing and begin to barf. Not good. Though I wasn't typicaly afflicted by sea-sickness, the pitiable sight of these three and the heaving and lurching of the boat was beginning to make me feel nauseated as well.
"Why don't you come up on deck," I said to Sylvia. "The problem here is that you can't see the waves and so your inner ear is confused. My inner ear is confused down here."
"We should have stayed in Maiana," she began to moan. "We should never have gone today. I should have said let's wait until the sea calms down. I didn't know it would be like this. Boo-hoo."
She didn't actually say boo-hoo, but she might as well have. I believe that if one-half of a couple becomes weepy and mopey, it is important for the other half to respond with refreshing bursts of sunnyness. This often entails lying.

*recommended to my by (in order of recommendation): Chris, my sister-in-law Heather, my brother-in-law Brett.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

This sounds totally interesting to me. I think I'm more of a nonfiction sort of gal. i just read the popular teen science fiction (at least I think it's sf)book, "Uglies" by Scott Westerfeld. It was pretty interesting, but not what i expected from a book that has not been on shelves at our library since it was published in 2005. I was like #36 on the waiting list, but it was still pretty good nonetheless. I guess I'll read the next one, "Pretties". Have you read these?

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