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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2011
Wacky & off-beat does not begin to describe this book! Also, as I read along, I kept thinking that I could easily imagine this as a movie ~ and perhaps that is also what the author was thinking as he wrote it because it just so happens that he works in the movie business! I did enjoy the book & found it very funny in places. Don't read this book expecting great writing (the writing is adequate, but won't win raves), but read it for the very inventive story of a buttoned-up white lawyer seeking a tame adventure in the Amazon jungle, but becomes lost, kidnapped by bad guys, rescued by an indigenous tribe, and has lots of exotic adventures.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2011
James Polster has one of the most unique comic visions of anyone writing today. Once you recover from laughing your guts out, this book will make you want to get up off the couch and either go save the Rainforet or go buy that other Polster surrealist gem, "Brown." "Guest in the Jungle" fictionalizes the author's own jaw-dropping adventures in the Amazon; you'll have to read them to believe them, and you should do it as soon as you can. Polster blends Joseph Heller, Joseph Conrad and Mark Twain into a unique jungle stew that will have you in stitches - and Polster himself would have been in stitches if that bushmaster had succeeded in sticking his fangs in him. Luckily he escaped, to entertain and enchant us all.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2011
Whitehill is a thirty-something American lawyer who quits his job in search of adventure. Unprepared and reckless, we first meet him lost in the jungle outside a remote Amazonian town. Nobody knows his whereabouts and tragedy seems certain; that's when the fun starts. Whitehill meets the mysterious Dr. Darreiro and his scary Indian sidekick; they're obviously up to no good and it's non-stop jungle intrigue until we find out why.

As the hapless lawyer goes ever deeper into unexplored territory the inhabitants get stranger. When Whitehill shares magic-mushroom soup with a friendly tribe, things take a surreal turn. These Indians are not your everyday native stereotypes.

Who knows what is lurking deep in the green wilderness; one thing's for sure, the beauty of the Amazon rainforest shines center stage throughout the story.

Recommended
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
In A Guest in the Jungle, author James Polster introduces readers to Whitehill, a 31 year old lawyer from Pittsburg. He takes a sabbatical on a whim to travel the world without an itinerary. Forgetting his fear of snakes, he goes hiking in the Amazon jungle without a guide. Whitehall is then trust through a series of adventures involving kidnapping and isolated tribes.

Polster's writing is generally lush and descriptive, but sometimes these descriptions come off amateur-ish, such as "He closed his eyes and sighed like a man at his desk who realizes that the workload for the day is far more than he anticipated." Also, Amazon has this book categorized as "comic fiction," however, I did not find any part of this book to be funny, rather it was just exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness. In fact, one "funny" scene involved oral sex during a business meeting - it was not funny, but gratuitous and awkward.

In trying to beef up the story by making Whitehill and his adventures seem more important, Polster added small elements of mystery through a few sections that center around other characters. One of these is Travers, a no nonsense business man who fears change and is trying to work in Bogata. These segments are few and far between and seemingly unconnected (in fact, on character has literally no purpose by the time you reach the end of the novel), and only make the novel disjointed.

Some of the views of Western life are insightful, but overall it reads like Polster wanted to convince readers to save the rain forest and indigenous tribes by writing a "funny" story. While an admirable goal, it becomes preachy and boring. This, compacted with an abrupt and unsatisfying ending, makes it impossible for me to recommend this book to anyone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2011
This is story telling at it's best, a page turner. It's all the more incredible because it's based on the author's real life adventures! I can't believe someone would choose to go into a jungle full of huge snakes but this guy did. The descriptions are also lush. I couldn't wait to get into bed at night and start reading again. Loved it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2013
I only gave this book 1 star because I finished it, though to this day, I am not sure why I finished it (I must have been really bored). I am not sure what was worse in this book; the horrible story line (really unbelievable at the best of times), the predictability (I knew how it would end after about 10 pages), the awful character development, or just the awful writing. In any case - don't waste your time reading or money purchasing this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2013
I appreciate the author`s ability to drive home the environmental disaster looming over the Amazon Basin and its inhabitants while keeping a sense of humor. The story is a good, entertaining read even though it sometimes felt rushed and the humor a bit strained.
I would still recommend it with those reservations as the characters are fun and the story keeps moving. Whitehill`s encounters with the various communities of Amazonian inhabitants are quite entertaining.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2013
A little slow to start off, but characters are engaging and you want to see where this goes. Has an unexpected twist and suddenly you're pulled in. It's a good read and I'm glad I chose it.
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on May 21, 2014
I enjoyed this book because it combined several elements; a picaresque adventure story, exotic location, satire, colorful characters, and some moral/philosophical discourse without focusing too heavily on any of the elements or taking itself too seriously. The author maintains an off-beat sense of humor and blithe detachment throughout which made the book both engaging and relaxing to read. The only negative comments I have are that the recurring theme of achieving happiness by stepping back from our overly fast-paced materialistic society is hardly a fresh concept so I found the dialogues on this topic in the second half of the book to get a bit tedious and I found epilogue, in which the author quickly describes a whole series of subsequent events that could be the basis for another novel, to be very inconsistent with the laid back tone of the book. But maybe that was the point?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2013
At times it was a page turner. A bit missing in the end as too who or what organizaton were the sabers of Whitehill.
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