“Where the Hell Am I? Trips I Have Survived” – Book Review

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where-the-hell-am-I-ken-levine
When asked to review this e-book, I was pretty excited. I mean, with a name like “Where the Hell Am I?: Trips I Have Survived”, you’d think the author was planning to tell you about his harrowing travel experiences around the world. Instead, this book is a chaotic jumble of boring incidents that happen in his life. “I went to the store, I bought some stuff…” Ken Levine has apparently worked on some famous TV comedy shows like Mash, Cheers, and The Simpsons. He also apparently has won an Emmy for his writing. There was nothing either interesting or funny about this book though.

The first line from this book will set the tone for the rest; “WE’RE BACK FROM THE land of cheap fireworks, Don Ho, the Dole factory where pineapple juice comes out of drinking fountains, Zippys take-out and Japanese tourists. That’s right – Hawaii. We had a lovely time”.

And I care …why? Did you do anything interesting there? Well, apparently he ate at the poolside snack shop where the hot dogs are good. He also went to Roys for dinner (also good). President Clinton ate there once. Oh yea? Unfortunately he missed the fried snickers bars. Oh no!

If you subject yourself to reading this story, you will get to pass through about 28 cities across the US and the world. Some of them he visited twice, and in excruciating detail. Ken seems to spend his time looking for pornographic museums and strip clubs, and is upset when they’ve closed down. Really Ken, do you think you might visit a museum or two?

I thought it might get good when the author goes on a European tour. I have visited all of the US cities described in this book (and done more than he did, I’ll tell you). I was anticipating some insight into the cultural difference, food, personalities. Ken says “The Mediterranean look is very popular in Lisbon”. That was something I might have guessed, since the Mediterranean is close to Lisbon. Then, of course, the author spends some more time searching for European strip clubs. Then he goes on to the list of his favorite crew members on the cruise ship.

I did, unfortunately, waste a few hours of my life to get to the very end. In the last entry (back in Hawaii), the author appears to take a poke at Twitter, listing his airport check-in time, time the shuttle arrived, his hotel check-in time, etc. He seems to not realize that his entire book is exactly this. It is a Twitter feed that no one can find interesting except his friends and family. Witness a few paragraphs later when he describes more banal happenings; “Our room safe didn’t work so we called Security. They said they’d send someone up in five minutes. It took twenty. Now, it’s one thing if Room Service is a little tardy but Security?” He tries to be funny throughout but falls short of anything insightful.

There may be some possibly redeeming portions of this book. You may glean a list of some of the restaurants he ate in and get his opinion of them. He has also named every hotel he stayed in but, personally, I’d place more faith in a TripAdvisor rating for these things. You learn how much gas costs in Hawaii, you learn that Delta Airlines fines customers $2,200 for smoking in the restroom and that a room at the Holiday Inn Express in Phoenix was $165 a night. If you feel you can do without this information, don’t even consider this book. If, however, you are keenly interested in Ken Levine’s life, or are a family member, please rush out to get it immediately.

 

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by David Elwood

David Elwood is an avid scuba diver, leisure traveler and cancer survivor. He has traveled extensively to witness the wonderful things the world has to offer . His latest hobby, travel photography, continues to take him to faraway places.

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