November 21st, 2007


John Harris – The Backpacker

John Harris – The Backpacker (07-053)

After Bridget Jones, the bookshops were stocking chick lit. After Ben Elton, lots of comedians decided to write novels as well. The Da Vinci Code was the sign for a flood of similar books.

The first travel mega best seller was The Beach by Alex Garland. After that several other travellers (including yours truly) thought they were the next big thing when it comes to travel/backpack literature. After 37 pages I gave in and never bothered about writing a novel anymore, short stories certainly is my genre.

John Harris did write the novel he thought would be the next Beach. I’m afraid publishers were too eager to notice that he wasn’t. Harris has traveled himself. I’m quite sure of that. And he has some good idea’s, usable for a good novel. But what happened to the editor who read the first draft of this book?

How is it possible that somebody travels without luggage, then the next chapter has to show his bag to the customs? How come someone enters a country without a passport, tries to get a new one, then doesn’t bother with it, yet can leave the country without any problems months later?

It’s a shame, because this story certainly isn’t bad. It has potential. It could, with some work, even be made into a movie. But the details should be correct. If I bother to read a book this size (nearly 400 pages) I expect everything as it should be. I don’t want to see mistakes, inconsistencies or sloppy writing.

Then again, if you’re not as critical as I am, you’d probably enjoy the story, because there is a lot happening, the pace is incredibly high, the characters are (at times) interesting and a lot of travelers and backpackers will certainly enjoy this book.

Number: 07-053
Title: The backpacker
Author: John Harris
Language: English (UK)
Year: 2001
# Pages: 381 (9889)
Category: Travel
ISBN: 1-84024-161-6