I have watched the An Idiot Abroad TV series multiple times and am always happy to throw it on as a light and easy TV series to cheer me up. Therefore when scouring through my local charity shop, I found the actual diary he wrote during his ventures I knew I wanted to pick it up and read it.
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As I said above, I absolutely love the An Idiot Abroad TV Series and so I wondered if Pilkington’s humour would be able to translate through to a book also. It’s a first-person recollection of his journey around the world visiting the seven wonders of the world, giving his perspective on not just the wonders themselves but the countries and cities he visits along the way.
An Idiot Abroad plot – 4.25/5
So how do you review a non-fiction diary told in a highly comedic style? Well, essentially Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have sent Karl Pilkington, previously a BBC Producer and now apparently a documentary host, to go and see the Seven Wonders of the World. The reason? He’s got an incredibly down-to-earth and hilarious take on almost everything. His opinions on things are simply one-of-a-kind and will often have you laughing out loud. The result? An Idiot Abroad.
For example, he’s standing at the end of The Great Wall of China, one of the most impressive and world-renowned single pieces of construction on the planet and in his diary, he starts remarking on the fact there were flying ants there and that “there is no reason for ants to have the ability to fly”. It’s little quips like this that no matter where he is, he can always ground those around him.
I will make one mention about the actual content of the book. I initially thought it was going to be quite a short read and I think it turned out to be slightly longer than I thought it would. However, to completely contradict myself, I was a little let down about how short some of the days were that Karl documented, I wish they were longer. Though this was made up by the fact that he was at each place for a fair few days so I imagine they may have been subbed.
An Idiot Abroad characters – 4.75/5
Karl Pilkington is hilarious, I don’t think anybody can deny it. His combination of delivery, vocabulary (or lack thereof) and his take on everything is perfect and has you often involuntary laughing out loud. It takes a lot for me to actually laugh out loud whilst reading a book but there were quite a few times when I did whilst reading An Idiot Abroad.
The other element of Karl is that he is incredibly pure and simple. You know by the end of the book what annoys him and what winds him up and you also know that no matter how wound up and annoyed he is, he’s still an incredibly kind soul beneath it all. He’s utterly loveable and unintentionally documents some of the world’s most famous monuments in an incredibly entertaining manner – the point where i’d read his views on almost anything.
Other than Karl himself, there are very few additional characters. He meets people along the way, some of whom seem almost unbelievable which creates some great interactions and responses from Karl himself. Gervais and Merchant do often call and text him with some hilarious messages which sometimes Karl responds to, making for some more hilarity.
An Idiot Abroad overall rating – 4
If you fancy picking something up that’s quick and easy to read and will guarantee you a laugh then you won’t go wrong with An Idiot Abroad. If you’re looking for something more serious that will teach you about the Seven Wonders of the World, you’re probably better off going elsewhere, but if you’re looking for some wonderfully unique takes and a good laugh at the expense of a man who is not afraid to give his honest, British, down-to-earth opinion then you’ll find this diary of Karl Pilkington’s travels an absolute hoot!