Thursday, November 8, 2012

November Book: Kook

I really wish I was giving you this book review in June since it is a good summer read, but since I finished it on the beach in Curacao, that’s close enough, right? Kook follows Denver-based travel and lifestyle writer David Heller as he embarks on a six month journey to, at the age of 45, become a real surfer. He quickly becomes addicted to the sport and the lifestyle that comes with it, and, along with his then-girlfriend, travels along the Pacific coast from San Diego to Mexico in a beat-up VW Van in search of the perfect wave.

Now, I’ve always wanted to learn how to surf, but after reading this book, it’s become my obsession. And while the book in no way glamourizes surfing (its hard, for one and lonely and accommodations along the way are less than stellar. Plus many of the best places to surf in the world are over-run with drug cartels or extremely unwelcoming locals. Both equally scary.)  Regardless, its all I could think about. But, as you’ll see in this book, being a surfer isn’t just about catching waves, having the right attitude or mastering the short board. Its more about gaining an appreciation for the ocean and how it is powerful and fragile all at the same time. A strong secondary takeaway from this book is Heller’s passion for ocean conservation.  You watch the author begin to understand this little by little throughout the course of the story, and you feel for him when he (and you) realize that it is us humans that are killing it. You’ll even follow him to Japan where he witnesses the massacre of dolphins for their meat, a story that later becomes the Academy Award winning documentary The Cove.

While it was a good and highly entertaining book, it wasn’t exactly a page-turner, (for me anyway) I did thoroughly enjoy reading it, but it just doesn’t have the suspense qualities that make me get lost in a story. Also, I feel that he could have focused more on his conservation efforts, as surfing and the enjoyment of the ocean will not last without it. Still a good read for anyone who loves the water. And maybe (oneday!) wants to learn how to surf. 

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