Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: The Voluntourist

From the back of the book: VOL·UN·TOUR·IST
n. 1. A guy who attempts to save the world in an attempt to save himself.
2. Someone who can only do it two weeks at a time.
When Ken Budd was thirty-nine, his father collapsed after eighteen holes of golf. Ken and his wife raced to the hospital—but it was too late. In the weeks that followed, as grieving friends revealed how his father had changed their lives, Ken started questioning his own life—and admitting, after years of denial, that he and his wife would never have children.

And then, still struggling with grief—his grief at losing his father, his grief at not being a father—Ken received an e-mail with the subject line: “Katrina Relief Volunteer Opportunities.” He signed up. He went to New Orleans. And he kept volunteering: Costa Rica, to teach English; China, to work with special-needs children; Ecuador, to study climate change; the West Bank, to assist refugees; Kenya, to care for orphans. His goal: to find purpose by helping others, one trip at a time.

Wry, funny, and heart breakingly honest, The Voluntourist will linger in your mind long after you’ve turned the last page.

My thoughts: I struggled a bit to get into this book, but after a few pages, I was hooked. I think we all have this internal desire to go do something or do something better, even when we have no desire what the something is. Ken Budd, wasn't sure what his something was either, but he set out to try to find it after receiving an email. Through his volunteering effort he was able to work through the grief of losing his father, as well as, a few other life struggles he was dealing with. His travels took him all over the world and his book not only recounts those travels but gives the reader more of an understanding of the political and cultural life in each of those countries. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, which at times read more like a diary than a novel.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review by TLC Tours and the publishing company but was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own.