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Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure Hardcover – September 2, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Four years ago, after locating 54 people who shared his name, stand-up comic Gorman used that frivolous notion as the basis for an award-winning, one-man stage show and book (Are You Dave Gorman?). Specializing in comedic travel writing, he found an excuse for more globe-trotting when he began google-whacking, or typing two words (such as "Dork Turnspit") into Google's search engine that would return only one result. Google-whacking constantly, he began to meet other google-whackers, from Seattle to Sydney. Soon he had a new stage show, and this book, based on that show, probes his obsession with the word game while presenting the colorful cast of eccentrics he encountered—from a Beijing performance artist to the guy whose house is a shrine to Mickey Mouse. Gorman's gift for siphoning silliness from any cubbyhole has an appeal for many (this book quickly became a U.K. bestseller), but not all readers will be ROTFLMAO ("rolling on the floor laughing my ass off"), as per Internet jargon. The nomadic Gorman does manage to maintain a breathless, high-spirited pace, offering an onslaught of amusing anecdotes and digressive detours along the way. 22 b&w photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
When he turned 31, British stand-up comic Gorman decided he wanted to be taken seriously, so he landed a contract to write a novel. He took novel writing so seriously he grew a beard. But no matter how he tried, Gorman couldn't actually write anything. One of his procrastination methods was googlewhacking--a game in which the "whacker" types two different words into Google and tries to get exactly one hit. His first googlewhack, "Dork Turnspit," led him to a site featuring photographs of women with dogs. Gorman found the site so fascinating that he met its owner and then asked the women-and-dogs fellow to find him another googlewhack. And so begins one of history's greatest ventures in procrastination. Over the next weeks, Gorman traveled tens of thousands of miles, everywhere from Columbus, Ohio, to Beijing, China, meeting googlewhacks, trying to string together 10 in a row by getting two new googlewhacks from each person he met. The descriptions of place are sometimes trite and obvious, but Gorman's self-deprecating wit and irrational dedication to his quest make this a hilarious travelogue. For more titles in the emerging "idiotic but charming quest" travel genre, see the accompanying Read-alike. John Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
The book was interesting and due to the book I have even tried to "googlewhack". It was also interesting that so many people were open to meeting the author in his googlewhack search.
However, the book was not quite as humorous as I would have expected. There were some great lines, but not enought to hold my interest.
Worth a read nonetheless.
This book takes place a few years after his world wide adventure of trying to find and meet 54 people with the same name as him. Dave has just signed a contract to write a fiction novel on a man who discovers a new colour (something he made up on the spot in the publishers office) only he has no idea how to do this. While trying to push himself to write the novel he is constantly distracted by his email and the Internet. When he gets an email from an Australian asking him if he knows he's a Googlewhack Dave wonders what sort of insult or compliment this random stranger has given him. Dave e-mails the guy back asking him to explain. Dave finds out his website is the only one in the world with a page where two different words (in his case Francophile Namesakes) appear randomly somewhere on the page. Googlewhacking is a word game that nerds or bored office workers around the world play. Of course Dave has to have a go himself and after a while has a Googlewhack and e-mails the owner of that site to tell him all about it. When the owner of that site has a go he finds another Dave Gorman (a man Dave came across in Are You Dave Gorman?) so Dave rings the other Dave to tell him. It is not long before Dave has been bet he can't find a chain of ten Googlewhacks in a row before he turns 32. Reluctant at first Dave's new adventure is soon underway.
Granted the book is a little bit slow before it gets to this stage but once Dave gets on a plane to Washington the humour comes thick and fast. His recounts of Washington DC and the mugger who wants him to attack him as the mugger has learnt self defence, the ghoulish mother tourist at the war memorial, and the comments at the Lincoln Memorial, you'll never laugh so hard. His Googlewhack quest takes him all over the US, Britain and to other countries. The recount of the conversation with a Texan on route to Mexico is another classic I won't forget for a long time. Funny is an understatement for this book, just read it!
If you haven't already done so also grab a copy of Are You Dave Gorman? Also read Danny Wallace's books Join Me (the story of how he started a cult by accident) and Yes Man (Danny can only say Yes to any question) they're hilarious as well. Can't wait for the next adventures from either of these sensational authors. Dave Gorman's next is America Unchained, Danny Wallace's is Friends Like These.
You can also get a shorter recount of this tale as a one man Dave Gorman show performance on DVD but it does not go into the depth of each Googlewhack that this book does. At the time of this review the DVD was not listed on Amazon. But now it is! Click here!
While I don't believe I'd ever do anything quite so extreme to avoid the commitment of writing a novel, I am, nonetheless, a procrastinator at heart. And there is something about books of this genre that makes that little voice in my head pop up and exclaim, "What a cool idea!!" Trying to meet fifty-three other people with the same name as you? Count me in. Travelling around a small country with a large fridge appliance? I'm there. Playing tennis against every member of an obscure Eastern European nation's football team? Why not? Saying `yes' to everything for a year? What an interesting sociological experiment! These are all ridiculous adventures that have led to equally ridiculous but highly entertaining books.
So when I picked up 'Dave Gorman's Googlewhack! Adventure', I knew from the start that it was likely to be something I'd enjoy. I wasn't wrong. Yes, Dave seems to have taken procrastination to new heights, and if he hadn't got a publishing deal out of it all then I would be seriously worried about the likely fragile nature of both his mental health and his bank account. But what stops this from being a cringe-worthy and pity-inducing book is his ability to take us inside his head at each encounter with another Googlewhack, and to help us understand the occasionally bizarre thought processes which drive this obsessive quest.
Travelling all over the world, including numerous flights back and forth across the North Atlantic, Dave meets his Googlewhacks and has a brief insight into the different lives of ordinary (and in some cases not so ordinary) people. I could feel the fun and excitement when he played Yankee Grab at a family's Christmas party in Boston. I could feel his squirming sense of discomfort as he sat opposite an 81-year-old Creationist in San Diego. And I could feel his utmost despair in Austin, Texas when within minutes his chain of Googlewhacks disintegrates, prompting him to go out on the town and drink himself into a stupor - one which also involves waking up to discover a tattoo of a fake Texan drivers' license permanently imprinted on his left arm.
Dave might be a chronic procrastinator, but fortunately for us he is also a masterful storyteller. If you're looking for a fun, light-hearted read, enjoy vicarious travel, and aren't averse to a dose of silliness every now and then, give this book a go: it might be the most fun you can have without leaving your chair.