I already reviewed Neil’s debut book back in August, wanting to like the book but constantly being thwarted by the horrible editing and breakneck pace. He’s since released an updated edition that’s been professionally proofread, and my God.
The difference is like night and day.
While it’s not a hundred percent perfect (still too many run-on sentences for my taste), the second edition of 80 Girls is infinitely more readable than the first. It’s so readable, in fact, that my other complaints about the book—the speedy pace and the constant violations of “show, don’t tell”—are rendered almost irrelevant. Basically, this new edition of the book looks and feels like a professional product.
For a long time in my twenties I was alone, didn’t go on holidays and kept to myself. Except for a few friends I never had many people to hang out with and mainly worked in “men only” jobs, where contact with girls was minimal. I was always too hard-headed and foolish to get an education, and after basic high school I worked at all kinds of jobs. Unlike some guys, luckily I had some skills and wasn’t just lifting boxes for years. For many years I was in construction as a car- penter, and for a little while as a tiler. It would have been great for the self-esteem – I’m pretty proud of some of the carpentry projects I did – if it hadn’t been for the fact that any kind of manual labor is looked down on, even the skilled, well-paying stuff. I always hated being looked down on by some well-educated rich manager-type who couldn’t even hit a nail. In between construction jobs I would sit at home on big unemployment pay and work cash in hand doing tiling jobs or just waste my time on things that I don’t give a shit about anymore.
While Neil’s storytelling could be tightened up in spots, his adventure is damned enthralling and worth reading. If my previous review of 80 Girls put you off from buying it, now is the time to reconsider.
Click here to buy Around the World in 80 Girls: The Epic 3 Year Trip of a Backpacking Casanova.