A travel memoir from the author of a popular blog.
Upon losing her comfortable job at a small board game company when the company went out of business, DeRuiter floundered for a while. It was 2008, the global economy was in recession, and she wasn’t sure what to do next. At her husband’s suggestion, the author started a travel blog, and the Everywhereist became immensely popular, eventually receiving mentions on several top-blog lists. DeRuiter’s first book recounts the circumstances that led to the blog, as well as stories about her eccentric parents, her life with her husband, Rand, and various exploits from their travels together. True to its title, the book wanders all over the place, and the result can be off-putting. The author’s observations rarely make it past surface level, and the witticisms for which she is known can be less-than-charming. In fact, without more substantive material to back them up, they grow tiresome. “That’s what’s incredible about love,” she notes at one point. “It’s nothing like the movies. It happens to mere mortals, manifesting while they’re standing in line for groceries or getting a dental check-up or renewing their license at the DMV.” Unfortunately, DeRuiter often delivers aphorisms that are less insightful than trite (i.e., love can happen to regular people), and the self-deprecating doubling-back doesn’t help: “I’m lying about that last one,” she continues in this particular passage. “Love has never, ever thrived at the DMV. That place is where love goes to die. But I’m pretty sure those other examples are sound.” Readers who are charmed by this sort of thing might find a lot to like here, but many will be exasperated by DeRuiter, who describes in gory detail an episode involving a clogged toilet but barely describes the places she actually visited.
Despite her strenuous attempts to be funny, more often than not, the author falls flat.