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Fred's Diary 1981: Travels in Asia by [Fear, Robert]
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Fred's Diary 1981: Travels in Asia Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Length: 358 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 2555 KB
  • Print Length: 358 pages
  • Publication Date: December 29, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H1POOKO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,509 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fred’s Diary is just that, a diary. This book is a compilation of the daily writings of Robert Fear describing his travels through Asia, his personal experiences, thoughts, and growth.

It will take you a while to get into the cadence of the work. It is a daily diary, some days extremely monotonous, others documenting fascinating events. Just like life. Some entries are explicit in description of interesting places, others are a simple indication of having gone somewhere, visited a city, or taken a ferry. Personally, I’d have appreciated more description of these excursions. For example, the author mentions a visit to the Taj Mahal … a place that would merit a poetic description. But, this isn’t the intent of Fred’s Diary, it is not a novel … but simply a non-fiction journal of events. A most interesting part, for me at least, describes Fear's experiences following arrest and imprisonment for a drug bust in Thailand. The uncertainty, bribery temptation, surprising availability of drugs while in this prison, fairly liberal visitation permissions, etc., … are all educational. The story will bring forth some dèja vu regarding late 70s and early 80s technology, a fun walk down memory lane. For example, the Sony Walkman was a big thing, and there is no cell phone, and people still wrote letters - not emails.

No need to suspend any beliefs, this is a true story. Enjoyed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Robert Fear has written a masterpiece. Writing a story in the form of a daily diary is always a challenge but Robert Fear has shown how well he has mastered the art. On first look the presentation is simple – almost too simple. The reader is likely to be put off in the beginning with mundane details – the price of each and every item bought, the menu at every meal – but within a couple of pages the reader is mesmerized with the underlying beauty and gets hooked. The era is captured beautifully. Getting initiated into the use of chopsticks, buying a glass of water for 5 paise, asking for coke and getting a drink called campa cola, the roadside scenes and imagery, the hotels, the eating places, all produce a strong sense of déjà vu in everyone who has been in that world.
The story is beautifully woven and unfolds slowly. Right in the beginning the protagonist gets into prison and then gets deported. The story starts building up from the freedom he experiences after this episode. The whole thing is handled beautifully and the book is a must read for anyone who has lived or been to India or the Far East in the 1980s or thereabouts.
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I was disappointed in this book and only gave it three stars because I learned a few things. Otherwise, FRED'S DIARY 1981 was a thick haze of marijuana, hashish, and opium as the author made his way around parts of Asia. Maybe if you're into heavy drugs, you'll like this book. I'm not, so it was aggravating to have to read through his daily -- yes, all-day DAILY -- drug-filled thoughts and exploits as he tried to sight-see and eat the native food. What a shame! I do not recommend this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

I must admit that I put the diary down after reading about half of it. The part that I read is the type of diary I have written myself over the years. I would recommend it even though I didn't finish it; the culture of the 1980's may be interesting to those born after that time. I was amused at the amount of weed the author and his friends smoked, and yes, I did inhale.

Will I read the rest of the book? Most likely.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I came to this diary with some expectation, having written a very similar diary myself...and only a few years after this one. And I was not disappointed. `Fred's 1981 Diary' is a fascinating time capsule from the heyday of backpacking round Asia, when Dylan and Marley blasted from tinny tape machines, everybody headed north to the trekky north of Thailand or the funky houseboats of Kashmir, and dope was cheap and plentiful. Though in Fred's case, the dope gets him into an awful lot of trouble, and after a slow-burn of a start in Hong Kong, where he finds work as a TV extra, we are suddenly plunged into a `Midnight Express' scenario where he is flung into a hellhole of a Thai jail for possession. This section is riveting, and is the stuff of which films should be made. His `lucky' escape - or rather deportation - leads him on to Nepal, where he somehow negotiates a gruelling week of trekking on a whole cornucopia of drugs (respect!), then on to India, where he survives a number of near-death bus journeys, witnesses (and beautifully describes) a Kashmiri wedding ceremony, and battles with his feelings for girlfriend Rita, who has joined him from Germany. This latter part of the book I particularly enjoyed - far less straight reporting, far more reflection on the nature of relationships, and indeed of the nature of life itself. Okay, an awful lot of illicit substances have gone down by this point, but Fred - as honest and revealing as ever - tells it how it is: "I feel I've learned a lot, using hash and grass to set me thinking, not just to get blasted." And it is this honesty, coupled with a very engaging and readable writing style, that ensures that this diary reads as fresh today as when it was first written. Highly recommended.
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