I chose to read The Sex Lives of Cannibals because I was looking for an easy summer-y read that would make me laugh and…it kind of succeeded. I was under the impression that this book was going to include hilarious adventures the author had with his girlfriend while living on an island in the equatorial pacific. This book did include several stories like that and it did make me laugh many times, but it also caught me by surprise and taught me a lot too.
The Sex Lives of Cannibals is an account of J. Maarten Troost’s experience living on the island of Kiribati for two years with his girlfriend. Some of the stories include encounters with the natives, adapting to the new culture, adapting to the heat, hilarious boat ride adventures, and day-to-day life for Maarten and Sylvia.
In addition to the funny stories (this was what I was expecting) there were little history lessons (this was what I wasn’t expecting) dispersed throughout the book. Turns out, learning a bit about this island’s history can help the reader in understanding the authors experience on the island. Who would have thought? At first I was annoyed with the history and I wanted to just skip it and move on to the funny parts, but I found that if I stuck with the slower chapters I would learn a lot of interesting information that had cheeky humor dispersed throughout it. The author used his unique and likeable writing style to make me want to read about the first settlers on Kiribati. Let me tell you, that is quite an accomplishment on his part since I’m not really interested in history.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book! The only thing I have to say is go into it with a clear understanding of what it is. I had this idea in my head of what it was going to be like and then it ended up being completely different, but pleasantly so. This novel is funny, witty, and will leave you wanting more. You will gain such a deep appreciation for Maarten and Sylvia, and by the end of the book you will think of them as old pals!
I hope when you finish reading about this hilarious adventure you will love it and feel as inspired by them as I did!