Character Development 4
Cute cover, cute premise, cute book. The cover pretty much says it all: 'Welcome to Africa: 16 strangers, 8 countries and One Broken Down Truck - An Adventure Novel by Peter Mandra'
If 'Overland' taught me one thing it is this: on my much anticipated trip to Africa someday, I will not be booking a three week camping trip with the cheapest tour company I can find on the Internet. You can imagine the types of employees such a business might employ. Not to give too much away ... they might be surly, or very enthusiastic, or totally disinterested, or inexperienced, or maybe even very sick. Add to this some remarkably unique travellers from around the world and you have the recipe for a very memorable trip.
The variety of personalities involved in the adventure makes for some frustrating times for our protagonists, Paul and Megan, but also some chuckles and smiles for the reader. Some characters are better developed than others, as would be expected considering the number of them that show up in the book. I especially loved the character of Aubrey. He was so precise and innocent somehow. He made me smile every time he showed up - right to the last page.
The descriptions of Africa as, alternately, an expanse of boring, mundane landscape and an exotic foreign land full of thrilling encounters with wild animals, is probably exactly what Africa is like. Although, personally, I prefer the second Africa to the first.
As an aside, I would like to address a pet peeve. Although it took nothing away from the story, I have to say that I need an author bio included somewhere between the covers! A picture is nice as well but I would be satisfied with something like "Author Doe lives with his wife Jane in Upper Mongolia and collects taxidermied rats in his spare time." Just something to allow me to connect with the author.