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Youthfully upbeat, Gilman (Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress) delivers an entertaining memoir of her ill-starred attempt to circumnavigate the globe after college graduation in 1986. Eager to embark on life but unsure exactly how to do it, the author, a New Yorker, and her fair-haired Connecticut trust-fund friend, Claire, both graduates from Brown, resolved to backpack around the world for a year and become heroines in their own epic stories. Starting in Hong Kong, the two naOve 21-year-olds, armed with Linda Goodman's Love Signs, volumes of Nietzsche and a year's supply of tampons, ran into shoals fairly immediately, freaked out by fleabag hotels, vermin, importunate fellow travelers and the debilitating effects of illness, homesickness and the sole company of each other. As they roughed it through Communist China, Claire grew increasingly paranoid and delusional, eventually bolting on a bizarre bus trip that got her picked up by the police. Gilman's amusing journey focuses tightly on these first shaky seven weeks, offering the full wallop of disorienting, in-the-moment, transformative travel adventures. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Gilman's standout travel memoir follows the author and her friend Claire as they embark on a backpacking trip through China after graduating from Brown University in the mid-1980s. Gilman's descriptions of their trials and tribulations crackle with wit as the girls, armed with an astrology guide and Instamatic cameras, trek through East Asia. At first, their challenges are limited to cockroach-ridden hostels, public toilets, and language barriers. Then they are aided by several fellow travelers they meet on a boat to Shanghai, as they attempt to navigate China's communist bureaucracy. Soon, however, friction erupts between Gilman and Claire, who is convinced they are being watched. Together, the two travel to places never before visited by Westerners, making for a trip neither will ever forget, and now, neither will Gilman's readers.--Boyle, Katherine Copyright 2009 Booklist
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Part travelog, part mystery, Gilman's latest memoir-after the best-selling Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress-begins in 1986 with the author and a friend studying a placemat at IHOP titled "Pancakes of Many Nations." With more hubris than travel experience, these freshly minted Brown graduates decided to embark on a yearlong, around-the-world backpacking trip, beginning in China. Though they had wonderful experiences, a painful secret led to their undoing. Gilman's work will appeal to those who went in search of an "authentic travel experience" and got more than they bargained for. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/08.]-E.B. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.