Saturday, February 16, 2013

Green book review - The Gringo: A Memoir by J. Grigsby Crawford

Today we'd like to introduce you with a great book that has been called a "must read" by comedian Chevy Chase, had excerpts featured in the Huffington Post, and earned the writer an appearance on CBS News with special correspondent Jeff Glor.

Our book for today is The Gringo: A Memoir by J. Grigsby Crawford.

What this book is about?

Within weeks of arriving as a volunteer in a remote corner of South America, Crawford got a lot more than he bargained for: a narrow escape from a kidnapping plot hatched by the people he was sent there to help. Then things only got stranger.

In his quest to find adventure, Crawford undertook a savage journey of danger, drugs, sex, and alarming illness. What resulted is The Gringo: one part literary tale of two lonely years in the Amazon jungle and one part gonzo-journalism account of life in the Peace Corps, an agency wandering aimlessly through the twenty-first century. Filled with sharp humor and eye-opening observations about the human condition, this is an unforgettable story that grabs the reader and doesn't let go.

Our review:

I had to digest J. Gigsby Crawford's book titled The Gringo: A Memoir. Not because it wasn’t compelling and quite an interesting read, but for several reasons. The author’s telling is very straightforward with a sarcastic humor that I quite enjoy, and the book moves along nicely because of it, but in doing so, it seems to lacks emotion and feeling. Even though you know what the reader would feel while going through some of the events within this book, the book itself feels a bit empty. I also found it be a bit crude in places. I understand it’s a memoir and that the author is telling it how it was, but it felt a bit vulgar at times. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m female. Regardless, I was a bit taken aback now and then. And lastly, I found it a bit redundant. For example, from what I read, Mr. Crawford had abysmal training with the Peace Corps before being sent out on site. He goes on and on about it through the book. I got it, training was bad, moving on.

Now even with all that said, I found the author’s account of his two years as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Ecuador to be very interesting and very honest in its telling. He painted quite the picture of life as a white man in the underdeveloped country of Ecuador. I found this Memoir to be compelling. I read it very quickly as I didn’t want to put it down. When someone called it a brutal telling, that is quite the accurate description. I was taken with the events of this author’s life over the course of two plus years. I commend him for his dedication even if at times that dedication may have caused him more harm that good.

You can purchase the book on