This book evolves around a Thai beach paradise wrapped in secrecy, inhabited by a select group of Western backpackers.
The protagonist, Richard, is a smoking, toking, schizophrenic backpacker with a wandering imagination and a desire for action. The story shows his journey from an outsider who arrives at this beach, to when he is finally accepted as one of them, only to eventually end up alienated.
On the beach there are no taxes, traffic, or phone calls. Instead, there are fishing, gardening, cooking, carpentry and marijuana stealing duties. It looks pretty idyllic and relaxed at first, but after a while, as difficult situations arise, tension builds up in the relationships amongst the beach dwellers and the cracks start to show.
What I really like about this book, beyond the fast pace it takes, is that it shows a backpacker's state of mind. Approaching and inviting complete strangers to travel with you, the willingness to look for adventure, the necessary degree of independence. It also shows how easy it is to leave your previous life behind in a foreign environment & how friends, family, careers, studies can evaporate, and the ease that comes at embracing a new life.
Frankly, if someone told me a place like The Beach exists, I wouldn't be all too perplexed. Reading about it tempted me to hop on a boat, join some hippy retreat and leave the rest of the world behind.
If you're about to go backpacking, bring this book along. It'll be an interesting read (but hey, don't let if stop you even if you ain't gonna be backpacking).
About the reviewer: Lainie is pursuing her studies at LICT, Cyberjaya, but hails from Ipoh, Perak. Her hobbies include reading, drinking, partying, and blogging. She also writes about the antics of her interestingfriends. graceshu # 8:45 AM