Don't Go There by Adam Fletcher [Book Review]
April 8, 2020
One of this year’s Christmas gifts from my parents was pretty telling. A travel book called ‘Don’t Go There’. It’s a book about some of the strangest places in the world. It’s a memoir really that details the experiences Adam Fletcher encounters in these unusual corners of the globe. There’s a chapter on Chernobyl, the nuclear disaster site in Ukraine, and it’s this year’s summer holiday road trip destination. Maybe my Mum is trying to inspire us not to drive out there.
While Fletcher’s book is titled ‘Don’t Go There’ I don’t feel he actually means that. In fact, the book isn’t really a travel book in the traditional sense. It’s not filled with recommendations of where to eat, what sights to see or even, as the name suggests, where not to go. Instead it’s a tale of experiences. It’s a chance to get to know Adam the person, just as he is rediscovering himself.
What makes it such a compelling read is Fletcher’s likable character. The pages are filled with his very British humour yet European culture seeps through thanks to his time living in Berlin with his German girlfriend. This, and his writing style, propel you at pace through each new destination and new experience.
It’s a laugh out loud, easy going read with a few moments of poignancy and honesty. It’s a great holiday read or coffee table book.
What’s it all about then, this book Don’t Go There?
Adam Fletcher decides to embark on a journey unlike any other. It’s a personal journey of discovery to uncover the reality of who Adam is. Will Adam like what he finds or will this be the start of something new? To understand his true self his journey takes him out of his comfort zone, out of the realms of predictability and to places most people wouldn’t dream of visiting.
From North Korea, Chernobyl, Transnistria, Liberland and little old Thetford in England Adam seeks to uncover what no one else can.
Along the way he’ll encounter some eccentric characters that show the world from the less traditional perspective. He’ll receive life advice from a Texan, meet the Devil incarnate on a bus in Moldova and spend 48 hours stuck in a blizzard on public transport in China. Will it all be worth it in the end? Will these unusual destinations tell him anything or just leave Adam with more questions? About life, love and his profession as a writer.
Why I loved it?
Reading this book is like meeting a new friend and sharing some of the craziest experiences of your life after a beer or two too many. You hear about the sensational tales of border crossings and scary adventures in the middle east and Turkey. You feel shocked and astounded that someone so like you could have such tales to share.
But as the night goes on, the beers keep flowing and everyone begins to loosen their tongues. You realise this new friend isn’t so different from you. Sure they’re adventurous, they love to travel and will put themselves out there. Ultimately, they’re looking for the same things you are – love, fulfilment, purpose. Do these strange adventures really change that? Absolutely not. Do they give you, and him, a way to express yourselves – what you need, what you desire. Yes. And isn’t that the point of a good story.