Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Review: Road To Europe

Book Description:

In 2012, prompted by the spirit of adventure, Ogbonnaya Kanu set off on his first unaccompanied and longest biking tour, with his faithful 2010 BMW R1200GS, codenamed Blanks, to ride from Lagos, Africa, to Europe and back.

Characterized by interesting food stops, peculiar border crossings, different degrees of culture shock, relationships with nature and her elements, and a rather unusual road obstruction, FD, Breaking Limits: Europe is more than just a guide for the adventurous biker.

Beautifully written, FD, Breaking Limits: Road To Europe will take readers into the heart and mind of a man as he travels alone on a road less travelled but with his goal always in sight.

"Road To Europe" is a novella in the Non-Fiction genre by author Ogbonnaya Kanu.

I like the idea and concept of the book, which I believe to be unique, especially as it has photos in it. The author writes about his experience riding his motorbike code-named "Blanks," from Nigeria to Europe, where he meets his family, then rides back to Nigeria. I should add that he is the first Nigerian to do so, so a big bravo for that.

Coming into the story, it starts very well with the author preparing to leave, then finally rides off. The first few pages are engaging, as I am waiting to be transported to various countries in Africa; ride the ferry over to Europe, then ride through Europe; but I didn’t get that satisfaction. I was supposed to be in the head and see through the eyes of the rider/author but I didn’t. He is going from border to border, breezing in and out of cities, mentioning the names once (with some occasional sentences on the environment and stop-overs for photo sessions), and never going back.

I know that it’ll be difficult to ride and still take note of things around, especially if it’s a lonely, long road, but I think the author could have put in more effort. To me, I expected more than just ‘riding to Europe and back,’ I expected a little more adventure and to discover new places, culture, food, people, etc. Maybe the author’s writing style; a lot of extremely short sentences and brevity added to the feel of not being carried along.

There's a part where the author finds a Syrian restaurant in... (not sure of the country anymore), and I was expecting to know what the place looked like, how many people were there, etc. But the only thing I get is "Dinner done and I'm off." I'm thinking what did you eat??? What did it look like??? What did it taste like??? Would it tempt me to want to ride all the way to that restaurant just to have dinner?

Another day, "I walk into the hotel... Fantastic Moroccan meal and tea." I kept wondering what the meal was. It would have been nice to actually visit and discover a little about the city through the author, but there's nothing memorable for me on the journey... Maybe only that a fuel station in one of the numerous cities or towns was called Gare du Nord.

A little about Geography would have helped too and would prevent people from getting distracted by going online to look things up instead of getting a description in the book. There’s a mention of Tangier, but I don’t know anything about Tangier; it’s as if I’m inside the author’s lunchbox, just being transported and hearing voices, but not seeing anything. Then there’s the ferry ride to Sète, but I'm sure not everyone knows where Sète is or that it's in the South of France. If there are readers like me, once they go online halfway to research a detail from a book, they will remain online. And then there's Genoa. I had to look that one up. I know we should 'know our geography,' but books are meant to help you learn as well.

There were also a couple of acronyms, and 'bike' words that I didn't understand, and since I didn't want to waste time online, I moved on unsatisfied. But at least thanks to google, I know what an Airhawk is now :)

The book could have been longer, more detailed, and much more fun, but in all, it was a nice read, which can be taken down in a day.


Literarily Yours,

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