Are You Experienced? Paperback – 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
However after reading "are you experienced" I realized it wasn't only through her eyes. It is truly India and all it's glory.
This book explains the trials and tribulations in a fun and witty way. It is one you won't be able to put down, at least I couldn't. His experience from the minute he lands in India to the moment he lands back home in England is at times unbelievably funny and at others leaves you feeling so sorry for him, to the point you want to rescue him.
Yet at the end of the book I had a desire greater than before reading the book to book a flight and start my own journey into getting experienced!
As Dave and Liz smugly "experience India," we see how shallow their involvement is, how much they are acting and trying on roles to see if they fit, how much this trip is a way to avoid boredom, and how, lemming-like, they do what everyone else does, staying in the same hostels, following the same itinerary, and searching for "meaning" in outrageously off-the-wall activities, the chief attraction of which is that they take place in a foreign country.
Sutcliffe does not hold back in his satire, but he is not mean-spirited. The reader can easily imagine that this novel evolves from some of Sutcliffe's own amusing experiences or those of some of his friends. He is laughing with, rather than laughing at. Most readers will probably not have pursued enlightenment in the extreme ways that Dave and Liz do, but most of us will see ourselves at nineteen mirrored in their naivete and gullibility. In laughing at them, we are also laughing at ourselves.
I read this in less than a day, and it was one of those rare books that actually made me laugh out loud. Very easy to read and wickedly satirical, hitting its targets time after time.
I could see how the book may annoy Indian readers - the descriptions of life in India are scathing, but I think that it's important to realise that what Sutcliffe is doing is not attempting to descry India, but satirising the attitudes of the English back-packers to India. The meeting of the "hero" of the novel, Dave, with the resident English journalist, and that journalist's criticism of his fellow countrymen encapsulated the whole point of the novel, and contrasted India's own dignity with the shallowness of the backpackers.
Would that I could say from my own experiences that my fellow countrymen improve with age as they travel, but they don't. It's always dangerous to generalise of course, and the English are by no means the only nightmare tourists trooping all over the world, but I've come across forty-pluses with the same attitudes as the teenagers in this novel.
I have a standing invitation from friends in Mumbai to visit India. When I go, I'll think I'll stay close to them throughout, and take this novel with me as a guide.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is for college students! However I liked learning a little about India and I sure wouldn't want to travel there!Published on July 15 2014 by viola hill
Having returned from basically the same Indian scene 25 years ago and never having fully recovered, this book was an emetic beyond its own description of one (mild dysentery). Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2002
Very funny and witty from the start. Personally, as someone who has travelled her fair share, this book made me laugh endlessly as it picks on the pretentious attitude of some... Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2002 by Matilda
Despite having been a language major in college, I'm just now starting my global travels as an adult and can begin to appreciate the stories and attitudes in this novel. Read morePublished on Aug. 28 2001 by KellyAnne
Great fun. Those who didn't like it probably fall into two catgories: people who expect to see fully fleshed out characters in every novel they read, and those who recongize the... Read morePublished on July 31 2001 by David Bernardi
I just finished this book after reading Sutcliffe's "Love Hexagon", which I thought was brilliant. However, this one was a bit of a disappointment. Read morePublished on July 2 2001 by Christina Borsum
The book is about traveling, so I supposed it`s fitting that it works very well as a travel read. I read the bulk of it on a 13 hour flight to Japan, and it set the stage well for... Read morePublished on May 10 2001 by L. Cunningham
I searched evrywhere in the U.S. for this book. A friend of mine in London had recommended it to me, but back in 98' I could not find it. Read morePublished on April 4 2001 by silvia