Friday, January 29, 2010

I'd rather fly with him, thanks...

I was recently sent the book Fly With Me, by Tera Leilani Walker by Dorrance Publishing Co. in exchange for reviewing it. I was pretty excited, because I devour all books travel-related, and this one, billed as "a humorous guide to a better flying experience" written by a flight attendant sounded fun.

I was excited to find the package in my mailbox, but really surprised when I pulled the book out- it is TINY! Only 43 pages long, which immediately made me think I would have been a little disappointed if I had paid the cover price of $8 for it, unless it turned out to be *really* good. I mean, for a paperback, I could get Neil Gaiman's awesome novel Stardust
for an entire dollar less on Amazon- one of my favorite books ever, and a respectable 288 pages of awesomeness. But that's my inner cheapskate talking, and in the book's defense, it does list it as 43 pgs on the publisher's site, I just overlooked that and was therefore surprised!

I really wish I had better things to say about this book, because I went into it really wanting to like it, especially since I recieved it a few days before vacation, so I thought it would be a fun plane read (and certainly wouldn't take up much room in my carry-on!). I only ended up reading a few pages on the plane, though, before dropping it for another more interesting book that would help the time pass more quickly.

The book is divided into fourteen "chapters", which I put in quotes because each one is only about two or three pages long, usually a page or two of narrative followed by a half or full page "poem", which I put in quotes because they are really bad. An example of a few lines from the "poem" from the "chapter" on passengers with stinky feet (I am totally not kidding.):

"Everybody's talking, they're deep in conversations;
word is... the odor's causing hallucinations.

It's like a really bad trip... you know LSD;
this could be Woodstock Flight 103.

It's not so much they're ugly and creepy;
vehemently, it's they're down right stinky."

This is what you just paid $8 for. Do I even need to point out that Creepy and Stinky don't rhyme?

To the author's credit, she does jump right to the topic of the mile-high club right after the intro chapter, but it's all downhill from there. Although the book is advertised as being educational about flying, the only tip I picked up was the best kind of airplane for airplane bathroom sex. (Seriously.)

I could probably overlook the less than stellar writing and come up with something better to say about the book if it weren't for the awful editing. There were so many spelling, typographical, and gramatical errors in this book it hurt. I counted at least eight, which is insane in a 43 page book, 9 of which are only half-filled with text since they are the end of a "chapter". I understand that even the best editor can miss something here or there, but having a chapter title read "The Worse Flight Attendant" (it is correctly printed as "Worst" in the chapter index, at least), should not have gotten past anyone.

My best guess is that the author was a woman who always had great work stories to tell her friends over drinks, and they all encouraged her "You should totally write a book about your job!" a few too many times. I always want to root for the person who actually sits down and writes the book they've always wanted to, so I wish I could find something redeeming to make me recommend this one, but I just can't. And now I think that my review may officially have a higher word count than the book itself.

If you want a fun book about flying from a flight attendant's point of view, can I recommend Plane Insanity: A Flight Attendant's Tales of Sex, Rage, and Queasiness at 30,000 Feet by Elliott Hester, instead? I read this one several years ago and loooved it. (I should point out that I did NOT recieve this one for free, and am linking to it only out of love, because it is so freaking much better! It doesn't appear to be available directly from Amazon anymore, but there are lots of used copies, or your library might have it.)

I have a few more book reviews coming up, so I'm hoping you guys like them. Luckily this book was the worst of the bunch so far; of my four upcoming reviews, one is lukewarm and the other three are positive, possibly even glowing. Yay for GOOD books!

Now for the tough part where I have to send a review to Fly With Me's publisher. Ouch. I hate, hate, hate sending a negative review, but honesty is the best policy, right? Have you ever had to review a book that you couldn't find anything nice to say about?

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