DAN ELDON by Jennifer New


Safari as a Way of Life
Age Range: 13 & up
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Strictly for completists, this album combines new and previously published pages from the collage-filled notebooks of a 22-year-old photojournalist killed in Mogadishu in 1993, along with yet another account of his brief life and peregrinations.

Covering territory already surveyed in The Journey is the Destination (1997), compiled by Eldon’s mother Kathy, and New’s own Dan Eldon: The Art of Life (2001), this version leaves out direct references to Eldon’s sexual exploits but again retraces in mapless, often eye-glazing detail his youth in Nairobi and his restless journeys around Africa and overseas up to his tragic death at the hands of an angry mob. The narrative text is tucked in and around full-page images of his busy, heavily worked collages—constructed from snapshots, found items, loose, emotional sketches, handwritten letters, scrawled comments and other materials, all jumbled together and all visually of a sameness. Bland tributes from associates (“I think he carried in him instinctive wisdom that bridged cultures and generations”), a lengthy closing tally of charity projects and workers inspired by his example (and added features like an iron-on transfer and foldout postcards that are only included with the trade edition) provide insufficient reason for teen readers to prefer this iteration over either of the earlier ones.

Surely by coincidence, a biopic starring Daniel Radcliffe is in development. (Biography. 13-18)
Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8118-7091-7
Page count: 194pp
Publisher: Chronicle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2011


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