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This is truly a page turner! I couldn't put it down, was completely swept up in this death defying tale. Mark Giblin's style is unique, funny and descriptive. A lot of us will relate to wild and kooky back-packing adventures on shoestring budgets but this tale is like no other. It will have you laughing – and biting your finger nails – and gawping in disbelief. I also loved the descriptive images of his childhood in the north of England. Definitely recommend for a rollicking fun and entertaining read.
Mark recently joined our pub quiz team in Newcastle and has become a good friend. Regardless, there were many times where I honestly didn't know if he'd make it out alive. It's a gripping tale where you are flipped between laughter and terror. I loved Mark's self-deprecating humour and moving stories of strong male friendship. A classic "I couldn't put it down" book for anyone who has travelled anywhere and a cautionary tale to never leave home without travel insurance.
Wow. I read it in a day. You lurch through the chapters like a man staggering along a mountain trail. Then I implored a friend to read it, who also polished it off in one sitting. It may be a cliché, but it’s real page-turner. An ‘if you don’t laugh you’ll cry’ technicolour-vivid account of what it’s like to be very bored, very hot and very scared in a place where you only have yourself to rely on.
Amazing to think how much has changed since these pre-internet days. Now you can preview your whole Tripadvisor-rated adventure before you even set off. You’re travel-insured to the brim of your high-tech backpack and can email home, Whatsap your friends, and Google what’s wrong with you. And have an app which speaks the local language while you blog the whole trip as it happens, illustrated with string of selfies.
No safety nets here. Just two lads who have gone on holiday by mistake. In turns hilarious, poignant and terrifying. The second half descends into quite a different tale. You may not know what baby squirrel breath is now, but I found myself doing as I read the final chapters.
It’s a great read, and I’ve already bought more copies for friends.
It stays with you as well, so next time you’ve got a gippy tum on holiday and retire to your air conditioned room for a nap, think of Mark…
This is the most breathtaking travel story I've ever read! The year is 1987: Two young Englishmen flee the boredom of English suburbia, not to seek the meaning of life, but rather to find some fun and excitement in India. They very soon discover that they have travelled straight into Murphy’s Law, because the adventure backfires and nothing seems to go their way. And far up in the mountains, the bad luck peeks and Mark experiences that he has really got himself a one way ticket to hell and back! The story is hilarious and exciting and gloomy and sad at the same time. But most of all very well written, with that lovely English understatement and humour which the author has loads of. I read the book in a snap, as we say in Norway.
This book makes me laugh so much I have read it three times. Many a commuter has given me a sideways glance as I cry with laughter on the bus at the idea of Sean Hughes on a donkey or scrabbling around on a sinking boat. If you’ve seen Sean Hughes on the tele, you’ll know what I mean.
Most travelers tales are sickeningly upbeat with feel-good epiphanies on mountain tops, tales of heart burstingly wonderful romances and awesome nights at full moon parties. Mark’s book is very different - he tells traveling tales of a different kind. Describing the head cracking boredom, shite food, and anti-climaxes of a trip you probably shouldn't have taken so brilliantly. I know the feeling he describes so well of sensing that somewhere nearby there is something brilliant going on - if only you could be there and not in some place full of tumbleweed rolling around and a grandfather clock ticking.
How Mark is still alive I cannot fathom. The book takes a frightening turn and the horror of what happened to him, even though it is told with brilliant humour, feels so visceral as you are reading it. Of course, you know he’s still alive as you are reading it because he’s written the book. And thank goodness he is and he did, because it's brilliant.
I have never read a book FOUR times, but I might make an exception for this one.
What an incredible book. I'm not a 'grab them by the horns adventure reader' normally, but this ticks the box on so many levels. Adventure, humour (buckets of it) but also some life and death moments where my heart was literally in my mouth. You don't often stumble across a book that you can't put down, the author writes a tight story; one that keeps you riveted. It's not a huge read either - I knocked this over in a week in my spare time. I don't think the author wrote the book with the intention of being brave or particularly courageous, but the upside is that this is exactly what it delivers. Inspiring to consider his survival tactics and the resilience gene that must be prominent. Great writing style. It's like he's in the room with us telling the story and we're hanging off the edge of our seats. Fantastic read.
Brilliant read - I couldn't put it down until I got to the end. I was captivated by the author's experiences in India, really bringing alive the sights and sounds of the place. I laughed out loud at the crazy escapades of Mark and his friends and the mad situations they found themselves in. Equally so, it moved me to get a bit emotional over the sad struggle the author went through from when things starts to go bad and his quest to get to safety. There is poignancy over his relationships with others, some good, some not so good. Overall, this is one of the best books I have read for a long time.
Just finished and could not put it down. It took me by surprise how readable this gruesome story is. Possibly because of its dry British humour combined with 'dumb and dumber' style travellers. I was in an airport myself at one point and cracking-up about the story of the yogi doing tricks. Not sure if it was jet lag or good writing but I started laughing out loud at every line. Speed Bump will transport you back to the heyday when young Westerners travelled to Asia on a promise of cheap drugs and free love with no fear of the law. Mark's story is an 'I shouldn't be alive', blow by blow account of his travels that will make you laugh, cry and wonder how he survived.
Having done a fair bit of travelling myself, I can wholeheartedly sympathise with the hardship these lads from a likewise suburban life endured. I defy anyone who reads this remarkable tale of the backpacking adventure, to not be left clutching their abdomen from side splitting laughter, at least until the next chapter.
A true account of best friends, strange and enchanting cultures and a life changing illness. Absolutely hilarious and inspiring. A must read as each individual character with their quirks and descriptions gets your imagination cogs really working.