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Showing 1-10 of 14 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 27 reviews
VINE VOICEon October 25, 2014
I really enjoyed this book. Rachel is pretty frank about her flaws and it makes for some pretty funny reading. I found it to be more compelling than many recent memoirs. It was more cohesive than many of the recent blog turned memoir books that seem to be so prevalent today. I was definitely interested in seeing how the story would unfold and found myself kind of "cheering" for Rachel as the book came to an end. Despite her narcissistic qualities and a tendency toward self-absorption, I couldn't help but like Rachel (and her mom). It's not going to win the Booker Prize, but I liked it a hell of a lot better than many books that did win one.
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on July 19, 2013
I didn't realize I'd read this book before, until I got about halfway through. The title is really a misnomer - it's more about her time living in Amsterdam, not about traveling around Europe. It's also not a travelogue. It's about an American who goes to live in Holland with her two (Dutch) best friends and about her loneliness. The back cover seems to make a big deal about the not-having-a-visa, and that doesn't really open her to any grand adventures, in my opinion - I think this is more of an embellishment. I've been in France without a passport stamp and that certainly didn't grant me unimpeded access to all of Europe! Once you cross the border, as she did, you have to get a new visa. Anyway.

Shukert is funny, so it's an enjoyable read, even the second time around. But it's not what I expected - a travelogue - but more of a memoir.
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VINE VOICEon October 15, 2010
1 book I read'Everything Is Going To Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour by Rachel Shukert

2 words that describe the book'Sex Memoir (NOT so much a travel memoir as you might think)

3 setting where the book took place or characters I met

* Setting: Primarily Vienna and Amsterdam, Modern Day

* Rachel Shukert is a Jewish girl from Omaha who moves to New York City to make it as an actress. She is broke and barely getting by when she finally gets her "big break"--working for a temperamental director in an off-Broadway play that eventually has a European run in Vienna. After the play closes, Rachel decides to stay with friends in Amsterdam. After all, why not be broke and miserable in Europe instead New York?

* During Rachel's adventures, we get to meet a colorful cast of characters, including: Berthold ("an Austrian photographer old enough to be my father"); Mattijs and Jeroen (a gay couple who allow Rachel to live in their tiny apartment in Amsterdam); Marco, Ivan and Enzo (Italians--one of whom is an amateur dentist and two of whom are sex-crazed possible sex traffickers); Pete (Rachel's lover and possible boyfriend except for the little business of him having a girlfriend and possibly being a psycho); and Ben (potential husband material).

4 things I liked or disliked about the book

* This book is f#*@ing hilarious! BUT if you blanched when you saw the F word (even typed with nonsense characters), this book isn't for you. It is raunchy, dirty, irreverent, bawdy and wonderfully scatological. In other words, not for everyone. But if this kind of stuff doesn't bother you, you'll be spitting drinks out your nose from laughing and saying "OH NO SHE DIDN'T" as you read along.

* At first glance, the book might seem like it is a travel memoir. Let me tell you, it is not. Sure, Rachel provides valuable information for travelers, including such gems as "The Swiss: Europe's Perverts," "Are You About to Be Sex-Trafficked?," "Where The F*#K Am I? A Guide to Dutch Street Names," as well as practical information on finding a dentist in Amsterdam with no health insurance or money. But, for the most part, this is a personal memoir that gets down and dirty about the realities of a single woman who isn't afraid to take chances on casual sex.

* I enjoyed how Rachel wrote about whatever struck her fancy--from imagining imaginary Amsterdam-set sitcoms to examining the peculiar relationships between Phil Collins and the Dutch. From the very start of the book, which includes a helpful guide about How To Use This Book (as a trivet, as substitute coasters, as Kleenex, as toilet paper, as sanitary napkins) and a guide for Assembling A Rachel Shukert Costume, you know you're not reading a conventional memoir that plays by the rules. The book is part comedic essay, part travel narrative, and part sex memoir--all rolled around in nice helping of curse words and irreverence.

* I really wanted to know who the big-time director was! I disliked that Rachel kept that information from me after being more than open about everything else. (But I suppose if I were more in the know about theater, I could have figured it out. Plus I suppose she has to watch out for potential lawsuits.)

5 stars or less for my rating:

I'm giving the book 4 stars. I thought it was a funny, fast read that had a generous ratio of laughs per page. However, if you're easily shocked or not comfortable with bawdy, raunchy, irreverence and a generous helping of four-letter words, this book might not be the best choice for you. If, however, you have low standards like me, check it out ... it was one of the more original and amusing memoirs I've read.
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on April 13, 2014
I found it very hard and sad to read about a woman drinking herself into oblivion and repeatedly injuring herself and then trying to make it sound funny. I had to stop reading it ...
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on August 3, 2010
Rachel Shukert is very, very funny. I laughed out loud several times while I was reading this book. The writing is clever with a little bit of edge. But just as an FYI, the book mostly takes place in Amsterdam, with short stops in other cities. If you've been to the Netherlands, you may find this book even more amusing than the average reader.

Shukert takes us through her days as a young college graduate struggling to make it in the theatre world in New York City and with a traveling performance group that stops off in Zurich and Vienna. Following that, she settles in Amsterdam with some friends, and this is where the bulk of the book is set. She has a real knack for pointing things out that will make you say "Oh yeah, I remember that". One example is her mention of the ubiquitous Dutch chocolate sprinkles used for breakfast toast. But the best thing about her writing (besides the humor) is her very well-developed self-awareness. She seems fully cognizant that her trials and tribulations are largely of her own making. She accepts this, she doesn't apologize for it. In other hands, this book might not come off as so endearing.

Bottom line is that this book is funny as can be. I don't want to sound like the MPAA, but beware if you not are not a fan of 4-letter words and adult sexual situations.
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on August 19, 2010
Wow, I really enjoyed this book. If you can't wait for David Sedaris to publish another title, start reading Rachel Shukert. Like Sedaris, she shares her innermost, zany thoughts in a way that's laugh-out-loud funny, while at the same time poignantly revealing some aspect of humanity that is quite moving, at times. Not only is she funny, but she's also a damn good writer, whose powerful descriptions of people and events are highly imaginative as well as entertaining. As an American expat living in Europe, I could relate to her feelings of stress and loneliness, and what extreme behavior you're sometimes capable of as a result...particularly when feuled by alcohol. I am so happy to have stumbled upon this creative talent, and I'm already rereading her book - I liked it that much!
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on August 19, 2014
i wanted to like this book, the idea was funny and the travel seemed interesting but alas it was incredibility self indulgent. I found her so annoying, self centered, and a brat. While she might have grown up to be a fine person, the college version of herself she writes about was hard for me to bare. I left this book at a coffee shop when i finished it, knowing I didn't even want to care it home with me.
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on May 29, 2013
Be prepared for laugh out loud stories and foul language. I am recommending to everyone I can. Almost makes me want to give up my job and live a life like this for a few years..almost.
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on August 7, 2011
Wow. I paid 99 cents plus tax for the Kindle version of this book, and it still feels like I got gypped. The author prattles on and on like a drunk at a party who thinks she's funny while other people avoid eye contact and sidle away. What a waste of words.
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on February 6, 2012
For those of us who don't have the guts or the talent this starkly honest retelling of life's awkwardness made me laugh out loud and squirm at breakneck speed. Loved it.
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