Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book Review: A Dead Bat in Paraguay by Roosh

I guess call it part of my healing/moving on process, but I've been reading a lot of books and blogs in this genre lately. It's like in 2010 when I had a job that absolutely sucked and made me miserable, then I got laid off, I spent a lot of time listening to the audiobook of Tim Ferriss's "The Four Hour Workweek".

Since I've been reading Roosh's blog for a while, and read a few of his other books, I decided to get Dead Bat. Most manosphere bloggers like it and rated it highly.

Dead Bat is Roosh's memoir of the time he quit his cushy yet soul crushing job as a microbiologist to travel through South America. It talks about how he got the idea, how he saved up the money, how he had to lead his manager to believe he was going to stick around and get a Master's degree, and of course, the process of travel.

Roosh doesn't appear to hold anything back as he tells his story. He tells of the trials of travel, the friendships he made with other travelers, how hard it is to pick up girls in South American countries, the intestinal parasite he acquired... and the horrific effects that caused. (While I was reading that part of the book, I had my own stomach ailment that is probably related to the stress of the divorce and short sale of the house- it made my own pains harder to bear). Roosh's description is enough to make you feel like you just finished a 26 hour bus ride holding back explosive diarrhea.

Roosh shares his frustrations with meeting women, and doesn't hold back in his admission of what he did when he finally got a private room where he could be alone with the contents of his laptop's hard drive.

He shares his observations of fellow travelers. Roosh saved up his own money, and encountered plenty of wealthy people who had parents paying for their trips. He shares his observations of the wealthy Americans who pay to experience poverty (as hosed up as that sounds), and who claim "those poor people sure seem happy!" based on a short encounter.

He explores the feeling many of us who have done things in our lives encounter: you get home and you're the only person who changed. Everybody else is still doing the same thing.

He talks about the travel accommodations. The title of the book comes from him staying at a hotel in Paraguay and waking up to something hairy laying next to him. It was a dead bat, right in his bed. In Roosh's honest writing, he recalls screaming like a little girl. Most of us imagine shouting the F word in a very deep bass, but that rarely happens. One night, years ago, my ex-wife woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me there was a mouse in the bathroom. As I stumbled in to investigate, it ran across my foot. The involuntary noise that came out of my throat is something I've been ashamed of since.  I can sympathize with Roosh on this one.

Roosh started his trip with the intention to visit every country in South America. As he talked to other travelers and matured somewhat himself, he retooled his plans and decided on which cities to hit. Brazil would be his last stop, as that's where the women are supposed to be nicer and easier to meet and take home.

He recounts approaches and failures in most of the countries he visits. Argentine women appear to be his least favorite on this trip.

In Brazil, he meets a nice girl and begins thinking about a future, but it doesn't ultimately work out. He leaves from Brazil for home. The book doesn't really talk much about his time at home. The Epilogue hints at a two year time span between him going home to heal from his stomach ailment and a trip to Columbia then back to Brazil. I struggled with the timeline and the gaps in the story.

All told, it's a great story of a man taking a risk to go on an adventure that ultimately launches his writing career.  I recommend it. You can buy it here.

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