I must admit, I didn't read the blurb properly before I launched into this, and as a result, spent the whole book thinking it was a biography. Oops! Anyway, Bruce, our protagonist, exudes British awkwardness as he blunders around Australia, sight-seeing and thinking lascivious thoughts about the ladies he meets along the way.
In short, Bruce needs to get laid, but he's too shy, and WAY too nice.
This was a funny, sweet and sometimes saucy story of a road trip over Australia's sometimes inhospitable terrain, taking in Uluru and Alice Springs and endless dusty desert. It's a genteel telling of a self-deprecating man, learning about the difference between love and lust, obsessed with sport and food, and retaining a quaint (some might say politically incorrect) tendency to judge women on their attractiveness, whilst being terribly nice about it.
The author really brought Australia to life. I could almost feel the heat and the dust, hear the glorious bird song and experience the endless journeying on various - sometimes bumpy - vehicles. Yes, the book could have been tightened up a little. We didn't need to know about every time he climbed on a bus or what he had for breakfast, but in the end, I just accepted this was his style and went with it. I honestly felt as if I was there with him.
This is a book to read over a few days, rather than devour it all at once. There's too much to take in. Sit back and enjoy from your armchair, knowing you don't have to deal with all the creepy crawlies, the voracious women, the lumpy beds and heat rash. An engaging, if slightly over-long, read.
If you are looking for an entertaining, witty, romantic, and sometimes smutty holiday read … why not try this one? The author’s debut novel, and the first of a series of the adventures of a shy backpacker … this might just be for you. Graduating from Oxford had promised to set him up for life. BJ should now be starting a rewarding and lucrative career, and living the high-life, surrounded by wonderful friends. He should be settling down with the girl of his dreams for a life of enduring love and fantastic sex. Where had that promise gone? Instead, BJ is back living in the parental home, is unemployed and isolated from his friends. His love-life is a barren wasteland, and his prospects look bleak. BJ is bored, restless, disillusioned, frustrated, suffocated. After reaching a dead-end in his pursuit of environmental jobs, BJ changes direction. With his head over-ruling his heart, he secures a professional training contract with a big City firm ... a safe and respectable career now lies ahead. F**k it! ... thinks BJ, as he buys an air ticket to Darwin, Australia. He feels the urge to go walkabout. The story is loosely based around the author’s own adventures exploring Australia’s outback and East Coast. Awakening Down Under is the first part of BJ’s travel diary as the Shy Backpacker, in which excitement, hope, desire, and disappointment, dominate BJ’s thoughts and actions as he searches for something better on the far side of the world … if only he knew what he was looking for.