A tongue-in-cheek exploration of the reality behind reality TV.




NPR commentator and BBC TV critic Peters casts about the globe in search of hidden lands and gets a whole lot more than he bargained for.

With his career in broadcasting idling away, Peters was desperate for a break. Though it wasn’t exactly what he had in mind, he reluctantly accepted the offer of a reality-TV hosting gig. Thus began his yearlong, whirlwind globetrotting tour of disaster. The theme? Throw the Westerner into far-flung locations, à la Survivor, and let him fend for himself amid the natives. From Cambodia to Dubai to Morocco, Peters stumbled along, braving third-rate hotel rooms and third-world airlines en route to the next exotic locale. For viewers at home, Peters was the lone traveler, charging into a world of risk-laden adventure. But as he points out, with cameramen, field technicians and field producers, “I can't possibly be alone. Yet, in the name of maintaining the illusion and being entertained, they and we pretend I am.” After two seasons on the air, the show was canceled. “The main reason for the cancellation wasn't a secret,” he writes. “It was the viewers. More specifically, there weren't any.” Illustrated by one hilarious descent into madness after another, Peters undermines the idea that there are still areas in the world untouched by Western influence. It seems that everything has already been explored. But most TV viewers are just looking for an escape. “There's no limit to the extent of human gullibility when it comes to believing what they're told,” he writes. “And the more far-fetched or ludicrous an idea is, the more people are likely to buy into it.”

A tongue-in-cheek exploration of the reality behind reality TV.

Pub Date: April 21, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-307-39635-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Three Rivers/Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?


Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet