Happyslapped by a Jellyfish by Karl Pilkington

A quick rundown…Before Karl became An Idiot Abroad; he did some travelling of his own. Now I know why he doesn’t like travel much!

Strengths: Laugh out loud funny.

Weaknesses: Finished it rather quickly.

Why I read it: Saw it on a sale and had to have it.

Pages: 224

Published: 2007

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley

Rating: 9 out of 10

I, like a lot of people, know Karl Pilkington as the reluctant traveller from the television programme An Idiot Abroad. When I saw this online at a very good price, I simply had to pick it up. I love Karl’s one liners and the way he summarises what everyone is thinking brilliantly. This book is a collection of diary entries and summaries from trips Karl has done with his family, mates and school chums. There’s also cartoons and comic strips drawn by Karl and a few attempts at poetry, but it’s the stories where Karl’s talent really shines.

Or should that be bad luck? Karl seems to be fraught with it on his travels. There’s the solidified toilet in Ibiza, the time he accidently got high on hash chocolate, getting stung by a jellyfish in the Caribbean and the maze like hotel in Tunisia. No wonder the poor guy isn’t keen on doing any more travel!

The book is written just how Karl speaks ‘me mam and dad run a butty shop’ etc. (My mother and father have a sandwich shop, not anything involving butts) but I found it easy to follow along, perhaps because I know some English people who use the same colloquialisms! Once you get into the rhythm, it’s like Karl is telling you the tale. The book made me laugh at loud at many points through Karl’s ‘state everyone’s thoughts out loud’ and preference for McDonald’s, even in Brussels.

My only disappointment was this was a very fast read – it’s a smaller format book and Karl’s tales of unintentional woe (like telling the police about a crime, going to bed, and then being woken by the police) addictive. It’s interesting that Karl states he will never, ever go to Australia (not for any original reason – just the bugs, spiders, snakes) but then he did for An Idiot Abroad.

If you like your humour deadpan and stating the obvious, this is the book for you as a light read. Guaranteed to put you off your holiday if you’re dreaming of one!


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