Hello to the Cannibals
by Richard Bausch
I chose this book because of the wonderful book cover and title. Then after reading the synopsis, I thought it would be a book I’d enjoy since it combined both the past and present stories of the two main characters which seemed like a promising mixture…
Hello to the Cannibals is about a young lady named Lily Austin who lives in the present, but is inspired by the remarkable life of an explorer who lived in the late 1800’s, name Mary Kingsley. Lily is so enthralled by Mary that she is writing a theatrical play about her life. During the task of researching and writing about Kingsley’s extraordinary life, she discovers they both have more in common than she had originally thought.
When I first began to read the story, I was hopeful and excited to find out more about Mary Kingsley and Lily Austin and to see how they would connect as the story progressed. As I continued to read the book and became more familiar with both characters, I noticed I was more drawn to the life of Mary; with her sickly mother, explorer father, and younger brother, their family story had depth and their lives intrigued me. I looked forward to reading these sections of the book but unfortunately there wasn’t as much storytelling about the Kinsley family as there was about Lily.
The character of Lily was not one I could easily connect with and her story was too mundane for me. I found myself feeling disconnected to the book when reading the sections dedicated to Lily and her life. Plus, as a college student, she was way more promiscuous than I would have liked. There were several very detailed sexual situations within the first few chapters of the book that I could have done without.
I gave Hello to the Cannibals my best shot, but I was unsuccessful in reading the whole book. Since I could only get through eleven chapters, 201 pages (out of 661), of this book I am not going to give this book a full review. But I do have to say that if the remaining 450 plus pages that I didn’t read are what some would consider the better part of the book, well then I think the beginning defeats the purpose since many readers might, as I did, give up reading this book before they reached the “good” part. A book should grab you and hold you from the beginning of the story, right up to the end…and sadly, this book just didn’t provide that for me. 201 pages into the book, and I was okay in stopping. (After all, reading 200 pages is like a book in itself!) I tried, I really did.
If you’ve read this book and really enjoyed all of it, I would definitely like to hear what your thoughts are and what parts of this book touched you and kept you reading.
For now, I’m going to post this book on Paperback Swap and gain myself another book credit! 🙂