Did that get your attention? Sound interesting? Fascinated, are you? Well, you’re not alone. I picked up The Sex Lives of Cannibals, by J. Maarten Troost, because I got suckered in by the title and by the glowing praise that his publisher heaped onto the back of the book (note to self: always remember to see if any of the praise comes from an objective third party).
I don’t want to completely bash the book, because I don’t think Troost did anything wrong. The book supposedly recounts the time he spent with his girlfriend on an extremely remote island in the South Pacific during a period when he didn’t have a whole lot of career ambitions, and I guess it does just that. But it bored me to tears. I kept waiting and hoping that something funny or insightful or even remotely interesting would happen, and I was let down.
Okay, I get it — things are tough when you live without the things you take for granted here in America. And third world countries can smell bad, particularly when they’re on atolls in the South Pacific where there’s nothing to do with the trash and sewage. Okay, I get it. I said I get it, now stop beating that horse to death!
Aha — a “twist” at the end! [spoiler alert, although I would be surprised if anyone reading this post planned on running out and getting this book.] After moving back to the U.S., our narrator and his girlfriend have trouble acclimating back to their past “normal” lives, and decide to move back to the South Pacific! A disappointing payoff.