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You Can't Get There from Here
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About the Author

GAYLE FORMAN is an award-winning investigative journalist who has traveled the world to report for such publications as the New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Glamour, Elle, and Seventeen. She lives in New York City.

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In Kazakhstan, a dedicated group of Tolkien readers pretend to be the Hobbits of Middle Earth. In China, a doctor attempts to cure cancer by creating a comprehensive book of English slang. In Zanzibar, Vanilla Ice-influenced hip-hop is the reigning musical genre. Journalist Forman set off with her husband on a year-long international journey, determined to find these and other offbeat cultural tidbits. From Tonga to Amsterdam, Forman "planned to experience these exotic countries through the eyes of those on the margins... to see if our otherness would bind us." Her account is a richly woven narrative that highlights a single person or group of people from each country, whether the Lemba of South Africa (Jews descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel) or the Fakaletti of Tonga (not-quite male/not-quite female transvestites). Forman can be grating as she repeatedly claims her "Weird Girl" status; her book is similar to other "off-the-beaten-path" travel books. She sets her book apart, though, by sharing glimpses into her personal life. Traveling for a year with her husband is no honeymoon-at times the two seem on the verge of divorce-and while Forman doesn't tie up the loose ends of her relationship satisfactorily, those personal details give her memoir a center and put more at stake for Forman. Armchair travelers will be sated by these smart, well-written tales. Agent, Nina Collins. (Apr.) Forecast: Rodale plans to market this book through various lefty middlebrow channels-NPR, the Utne Reader and Organic Style-which could help it break out of the travel memoir glut. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

In Kazakhstan, a dedicated group of Tolkien readers pretend to be the Hobbits of Middle Earth. In China, a doctor attempts to cure cancer by creating a comprehensive book of English slang. In Zanzibar, Vanilla Ice-influenced hip-hop is the reigning musical genre. Journalist Forman set off with her husband on a year-long international journey, determined to find these and other offbeat cultural tidbits. From Tonga to Amsterdam, Forman "planned to experience these exotic countries through the eyes of those on the margins... to see if our otherness would bind us." Her account is a richly woven narrative that highlights a single person or group of people from each country, whether the Lemba of South Africa (Jews descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel) or the Fakaletti of Tonga (not-quite male/not-quite female transvestites). Forman can be grating as she repeatedly claims her "Weird Girl" status; her book is similar to other "off-the-beaten-path" travel books. She sets her book apart, though, by sharing glimpses into her personal life. Traveling for a year with her husband is no honeymoon-at times the two seem on the verge of divorce-and while Forman doesn't tie up the loose ends of her relationship satisfactorily, those personal details give her memoir a center and put more at stake for Forman. Armchair travelers will be sated by these smart, well-written tales. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"This is travel through a secret side door; lucky us, we get to go along." --Newsweek"Compulsively readable . . . jam-packed with trenchant observations, drama, pathos, and humor. . . . Wherever Gayle Forman is going next, I want to read about it." --Kate Christensen, author of In the Drink and The Epicure's Lament

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