THE IDLER BOOK OF CRAP HOLIDAYS Edited by Dan Kieran. Bantam Books 2005. Subtitle – 50 Tales Of Hell On Earth.
As it says this is a collection of nightmare holiday stories from a variety of destinations throughout the World, Including UK destinations like Scarborough and Blackpool. International holidays include cruises to the Bahamas, Mount Sinai, and the deservedly winning tale in the countdown goes to Sunny Beach Bulgaria which is described as little short of a miserable place for vacation. Some of the venues are actually very nice, but the stories are not an overall voted hellhole, but based on specific letters to The Idler in which unfortunate travelers relate particular holidays they have taken. It is not impossible that you could visit the same places and have a terrific time. As well as the main holidays from Hell countdown, the book has subsections on stuff like unethical holidays (usually with a top five) in which includes tours of the killing fields of Cambodia. There is also a subsection on the five most ecologically damaging holidays in the world, which puts flying anywhere biplane in the first spot. This is an entertaining and often morally thoughtful book, which makes you very glad you were not on many holidays as presented by these authors, who are usually the holiday makers themselves rather than a panel of smug travel experts and celebrities. There are some clever, witty cartoons by Gwyn, and deliberately selected dull drab photographs from most of the holiday destinations described that really help to enhance the book. There are some obvious deserving choices, such as Club eighteen to Thirty holidays, and some surprises. Someone thought to send in their holiday at home as their worst ever. There are of course bound to be arguments over this from those who think of some nightmare holiday of their own that was not included. There will also be those who read it on their way to their holiday destination who suddenly realise that it is included in some detail right there in the pages understudy.
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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