By: Kevin Turner
Softcover ISBN: 978-1-845843-99-1 Publisher: Veloce Publishing Publication Date: May 2012 144 Pages. Color Photos. 21×15 cm List Price: $24.95 or £12.99
Finally available in the U.S. (released today, June 29, 2012) is one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time.
Bonjour! Is This Italy? by Kevin Turner was first released in the UK in May of 2012 to wide acclaim.
It’s basically the (very funn) story of a British slacker who lost his job and decided on pretty much a whim to tour Europe.
But this isn’t your typical dry, “do this, do that” touring guide by someone obsessed with covering all the details.
Kevin Turner is like the rest of us (some of us, anyway) — that is, unprepared, a bit foolish, highly optimistic and with a great sense of humor. He reminds me of SpongeBob on a motorcycle…
The title of the book is misleading, so don’t let that throw you. It’s not about Italy, it’s about Turner’s European adventure. Leaving England and arriving in France, he meanders down to the Mediterranean, across the Alps to Italy and finally up to Germany to search for a long-lost friend.
But, like most great motorcycle journeys, it’s about the ride, not the destination. Turner has a great sense of humor and his book had me laughing right from the Prologue. He has that mythical combination of British self-deprecating humor and wonderful storytelling, but it’s not “dry” at all.
If you’re planning a European motorcycle tour, get this book. But even if you’re like me — someone who will probably never ride a motorcycle across Europe (much less alone) — then this book is still for you, just for the laughs.
But wait — I’ll go one better: even if you don’t ride a motorcycle at all or don’t plan on visiting Europe any time soon, this book is still for you. It’s that funny!
The bonus is that along the way, between the fun, Kevin Turner doles out many tips and tricks on how to do it, where to eat and sleep on the cheap and, of course, what to see.
The book is written in a semi-diary style — another format which I’m not fond of — but in this case, it’s just a loose method for organizing his thoughts. And he’s packed in plenty of colorful photos, mostly taken by the author. The photos look just like the shots any casual tourist might take, and there’s usually a funny caption to go with each, so don’t miss that either.
By the way, if the name Kevin Turner sounds familiar, it’s because he is also an occasional contributor to the UK’s Motorcycle News and he writes about motorcycles and related topics for others.
Bonjour! Is This Italy? is one hilariously funny story of a classic adventure that many riders would like to take. And the bonus is that it includes many travel tips and details without the usual dry narrative of a guidebook. If you’re planning to ride Europe, buy the book…but buy it anyway if you simply want more than a few chuckles. All travel books should be like this!