Kamikaze Kangaroos!

by Tony James Slater | Travel |
ISBN: 9781514131039 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 8/13/2021
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, August 13, 2021
I got this ex-library softcover from Better World Books. I've enjoyed all of Slater's books on audio, and have been acquiring print copies when I can. Tony's adventures began with That Bear Ate My Pants! and Don't Need the Whole Dog!. [And his web site includes photos from the books, a nice enhancement.]

This one's a hoot from start to finish, picking up after the events of "Dog", where Tony's been dithering and procrastinating in Thailand after being invited to join his sister Gillian and her best friend Roo on a drive around Australia. By the time he finally gets to Perth and sees "Rusty", the van in which this proposed circum-continental tripo will take place, he's broke and even scruffier than usual, but just as cheeky and hilarious as ever. His first encounter with Australian wildlife, via a blue-tongued skink in his bedroom (in Roo's family home where he's being hosted pre-trip), startles him considerably, even more so when the family blithely informs him about the resident spiders...

The trio's first step is to get temporary jobs, as they need to build up some savings before setting off on their year-long trek. This is the point where the book feels almost historical; from pre-COVID times, it reveals a cheerfully simple way for visiting foreigners to open bank accounts and get well-paying (at least by poor Tony's standards) jobs, all very quick and easy. Ah, the good old days!

Once the trip proper commences, the adventures mount up quickly - including Tony getting them lost while exploring increasingly-risky canyons, Tony getting them injured by encouraging them to climb steeper slopes than they're prepared for, Tony messing up in increasingly spectacular fashion - and yet somehow they come out of all this without being maimed or dying of thirst in the Australian desert. The descriptions of the scenery make me want to see it too (though not to follow Tony up the precipitous cliffs), and makes me ALMOST wish I'd ventured on a work-holiday to Australia when I was young enough to survive {wry grin}.

Dramatic moments include Tony dropping his laptop (containing his only copy of the draft of his first book, That Bear Ate My Pants - backups, he had thought prior to this, are for wusses), the trio getting stranded for *days* in a tiny mid-desert town because (a) poor Rusty is not in the best of shape, (b) Tony was rude to the road-assistance official in town, and (c) did I mention how remote this place is? This bit actually scared me more than the cliff-falls and spiders, but while it must have been very uncomfortable while it lasted, they do eventually get to leave the place that Tony dubbed "Hell's Crack".

The trip continues, with pauses to pick up temporary work and replenish the kitty - including a series of agricultural jobs that demonstrate how little Tony knows about vegetables and field-work and following instructions. (He does turn out to be very good at some kinds of work, but in this case it's really not in his wheelhouse, though the way he describes it all is very, very funny indeed.)

Further adventures included their decision to walk the Bibbulmun Track, an over-600-mile-long hiking trail from near Perth south and then east to Albany. This was a mind-bending idea for me; sure, I've read about people hiking the Appalachian Trail, which is over 2,000 miles long, but it tends to cross civilized areas fairly often and isn't usually as arduous as the Bibbulmun Track sounds. Anyway, our heroes have planned (more or less) for this to take a couple of months, with periodic stops to replenish supplies (and to wait out heavy rain, and struggle to get their loaded packs on their backs without falling over...). I admired the effort and was glad to be able to read about the experience without having to actually do it!

The constant barrage of quips, snarkiness, sibling bickering, spectacular scenery, a wild variety of temporary jobs, and the general rigors of prolonged travel was vastly entertaining. And there were moments of more personal emotions - a tragedy in Roo's family, for one, and a growing romantic attachment between Roo and Tony (which Tony rather naively thought his sister hadn't noticed). By the time the book is wrapping up - after another dramatic sequence of events when the trio went to New Zealand to ski and got caught up in a devastating blizzard - Tony decides to propose, and if it weren't for the fact that he was standing on a nest of biting ants at the time it would have been very romantic indeed!

"I looked up. Roo was crying already, faint tear-tracks staining her cheeks, tiny beads glistening on her eyelashes.
'You know how much I love you...'
She sniffed back a sob, and nodded.
'OW!' I shouted at her. 'Sorry! It's the ants. They're everywhere, and they bite!'
'That's okay. I love you.'
'Right! Well, I know we've been together for a while now, and I was thinking, OW! You little BASTARD!'
[The proposal has been made and accepted, but a "truly impressive bull ant" was making its way up Tony's leg...]
And then I felt a sudden pinch, and sprang away from her.
'I'm sorry,' I said, 'but it's...'
'I know.'
And there she stood, gazing at me with what I like to think of as devotion in her eyes - while I hopped from foot to foot, shrieking and cursing, and punching myself repeatedly in the nuts."

Ah, young love!

Released 1 yr ago (10/4/2021 UTC) at Little Free Library, New Searles Rd [OBCZ] in Nashua, New Hampshire USA


Guidelines for safely visiting and stocking Little Free Libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, from the LFL site here.

I left this book in my Little Free Library on this rainy day; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2021 You're Such an Animal challenge. ***

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, November 1, 2021
I reclaimed this book from my Little Free Library while making room for some Halloween-themed releases.

Journal Entry 4 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Released 1 yr ago (11/1/2021 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA


I'm sending this to my sister in New York, in hopes that someone in the family will enjoy it!

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