Reviewed by: Fredlet
Genre: Non-fiction/Travel Narrative/Humor
Approximate word count: 105-110,000 words
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Tony James Slater describes himself as an “author, adventurer, and jolly nice chap”. He trained as an actor before discovering he wasn’t very good at it. After trying out several meaningless jobs, he travelled to South America, and returned to tell about his experiences in That Bear Ate My Pants. He has also written Don’t Need the Whole Dog and is working on his next book currently called The Kangaroo Suicides. He describes his genre as crazy travel comedy.You can find out more about him on Twitter and Facebook. He also blogs about his adventures.
After being disappointed in his life choices, the author headed to Ecuador for 3 months to work as a volunteer at the Santa Martha Centre for Animal Rescue. That Bear Ate My Pants is the memoir of the author’s adventures (and misadventures) during that time.
I bumped into this book while searching for bear links to tease a Canadian facebook friend about her lack of bear sightings. What a great title to use! I read the author’s book blurb, then his biography, and I just had to buy it. I fell in love with his humor and wit. When I decided to begin reviewing for Books & Pals, BigAl remembered my link and that the book was on his list to be reviewed.
While crazy travel comedy is not my go to genre, Mr. Slater’s vivid descriptions of the Ecuadorian mountain scenery and refuge’s daily life routines made me feel like I was standing right next to him. His handling of cultural differences, miscommunications that can occur, and his adventures with the local wildlife while volunteering at the refuge, were realistic and at times moving. It was like reading a Bill Bryson memoir with moments from Monty Python skits included. This book was laugh out loud funny! Along with his wicked humor and raw delivery style, he reminds you about the seriousness of the problems caused from illegal animal possession and abuse, and the hard, sometimes painful work that volunteers contribute to resolving that problem in Ecuador. As the book came to its end, I felt the same bittersweet emotions that Mr. Slater and the other Santa Martha volunteers had at the end of their stay.
Frequently, I read books aloud to my husband while he is preparing our evening meal. It is difficult to find books that would appeal to both of us and can be enjoyably read in small doses. I am pleased to find I can put Mr. Slater’s work in our read aloud queue.
This book uses UK spelling conventions and a lot of slang. If you are offended by raw or strong language, this book may not be a good fit for you. I found it entertaining and delightful!
I found a small number of proofing errors which did not interfere with my reading enjoyment.
Rating: **** Four Stars