Wednesday, May 02, 2007

No Touch Monkey! - by Ayun Halliday

I discovered "No Touch Monkey" during one of my weekly visits to Barnes & Noble. It was sitting on the "Hmm, that's interesting!" table - in between the Science section and an immense wall of "Chicken Soup for the ....." books. Boy, have they milked the last ounce of revenue out of that cash cow!

Being a monkophile, I was compelled to touch "No Touch Monkey" and give it a quick scan. After one paragraph I was hooked!

The author, Ayun Halliday, chronicles her journeys around the world, with a host of travel companions. As a young adult, she embraced the "I'm bulletproof" self image that many of us shared at that age. That sense of invulnerability is what allowed us to take on risky,and maybe crazy adventures that would have frozen older souls with fear.

Bruce Lee once said "The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering." In Ayun's travels, she acquired more fascinating experiences than many people encounter in a lifetime. And I am certain that the rest of her life will be richer for it!

The aspect that I enjoyed most about "No Touch Monkey" is that it was "a good read". Her story flowed smoothly - like conversation with a friend, when you are each on your third glass of wine. Her descriptive prose was colorful; forming vivid images in my head as she chronicled her exploits. The only other author who affected me this intensely was Ernest Hemingway - not a bad comparison for literary chops!

But unlike EH, Ayun doesn't take herself too seriously. She has a razor sharp wit, and a natural talent for discovering irony in whatever she encounters. That substantially increased my enjoyment of her book.

I finished "No Touch Monkey", a 272 page book, in four days, which is somewhat of a record for me. I was saddened when I was done. I felt like I was losing a new friend. As a result, I would read this book again, just to re-experience that relationship.

Summary: I give "No Touch Monkey" two opposable thumbs up. If you would like to experience the adventure of world travel, without encontering mayhem, missed connections, and malaria, then this book is for you!

You can find our more about the author at Ayun Halliday.

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