April Book Review – The Moaning of Life – Karl Pilkington


The chrome domed, weary-eyed, reluctant traveler has returned with more incomprehensible, daft, but strangely funny musings straight from his rather peculiar brain. Pilkington is known for his role as the perfect twit and grouchy traveler from the hit British TV series, An Idiot Abroad.

Pilkington travels the world and we see how he – a couch potato who prefers to drink tea, eat a Snickers and play with the cat – experiences some of the greatest wonders of the world. Pilkington has turned 40, he is unmarried, has no kids, and he has started pondering the meaning of life. As when the Monty Python gang asked the big question, ‘What’s it all about?’ Pilkington sets off on a great journey to discover how other cultures are approaching the Big Questions, and what their philosophies and approaches are to heavy issues. Of course, we have to bear in mind that the use of the words philosophical and Pilkington, in the same sentence, is an oxymoron.

Karl PIn his search for the meaning of relationships, the pros and cons of having children, vocation VS meaningful employment and finally death, Pilkington goes on a whirlwind tour to some of the more unusual places in the world. In Las Vegas he explores the drive thru wedding chapels where you can get hitched faster than being served at McDonalds. In Tokyo he visits a fertility festival and ends up being talked into helping carry a gigantic statue of a penis through the throngs of festival goers. And in a Tokyo restaurant he rescues a turtle from becoming lunch, keeps him in his hotel bathroom, while he is looking for a new home for Tony the Turtle. He muses, “Japan isn’t a great place for any sort of animal to live, as they seem to eat everything here. I’m sure when they read the story of Noah and him getting the animals on the boat two by two they just think he’s doing a weekly food shop”.

z6BsHNXS74In Africa, the business of hand-crafted coffins is blossoming. “It’s almost like the meaning of life is death in Ghana”. Pilkington reflects. You can have your mortal remains laid to rest in absolutely any shape or size customized coffin; a fish, a hammer, a shoe…whatever takes your fancy. Pilkington’s choice is decidedly typical of his personality, but I will leave that for you to discover. His writing style is conversational and at times quite funny. Do not expect to walk away from the book feeling inspired or to understand more, or anything, at all about the true meaning of life. However, the book does give you a funny insight into some of the more bizarre practices and people all over the world. Pilkington’s offbeat observations illustrates that even though all countries and its people are so vastly different – we are all one when it comes to the exploration of the Big Issues of the day, we all just do it differently and a bit of tolerance can go a long way. You can even have a lot of fun on your journey.

Visit our web site, pick a tour, and go on your own mission to search for meaning. Maybe even write a book. Honestly, if Pilkington can do it, anybody can.

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