Flying Cats and Flip-Flops, by Paul Johnson


I’d like to thank the author Paul Johnson for giving me the opportunity to review Flying Cats and Flip Flops, which is one of the best books I’ve read this year!
Genre: Non-fiction, Cultural, Memoir, Travel, Africa, Crime
Summary: This is the story of Terry Johnson. A middle-aged man with who takes a vacation to Kenya, only to realize this was more than just a vacation – it was a love affair with a different kind of life, a different kind of freedom – one that he longs to experience again, for a longer time. The vacation makes him realize he could either lead a monotonous life tending to his garden, while trying to stay out of his bossy wife’s way OR he could go on an amazing adventure. He chooses the latter (of course!). But (there’s always a ‘but’) what battles will he face while on this adventure, leaving behind the safety of his home and his land?
The characters: Terry Johnson: A risk-taker, traveler, adventurer, philanthropist, and sometimes (in his own words, and what got him into trouble more than once:) a nose-poker! Ann: Terry’s wife. Bossy and fierce. Short in frame, but sharp with words. This one can make you cringe in shame without using a single expletive, or allowing you to use one! Madam: A street-smart Kenyan girl who wins the reader’s heart with her sense of humor and sharp wit. There are some other characters whom we meet as well along the course of the book.
The technique/layout/language/writing style: Whenever I read a book, I judge it based on the detail – if it’s there where it’s needed, and if it’s been edited out where it’s not. The author’s writing technique is what won my heart! The author’s ability to describe a scene vividly is marvelous. I could imagine the scenes so clearly. I cannot praise his writing style enough.
We also see the non-touristy, non-rose-colored glasses version of Kenya. The way it’s written (not the story, but the style) can be compared to Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City (where he explores the not-so-pretty side of Mumbai – the corruption, the crimes etc.)
The language used is pretty straightforward. The sentences do not look overly colourful or “decorative” by usage of words straight out of a thesaurus.
I recommend this one as a must-read for those who enjoy non-fiction. With the brilliant style in which its written, and the kind of suspense you feel, this one will make you turn pages and be with Terry throughout his journey (with your heart in your throat at certain times!)
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
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