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How to Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling Through South America Paperback – December 20, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • How to Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling Through South America
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  • Don't Look Behind You!: A Safari Guide's Encounters With Ravenous Lions, Stampeding Elephants, And Lovesick Rhinos
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  • Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales Of A Botswana Safari Guide
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Whatever You Do, Don't Run:
 
"Allison's infectious enthusiasm for both the African bush and his job showing its wonders to tourists is readily apparent." --Booklist
 
"His misadventures make Whatever You Do, Don't Run an absorbing read. . . . The material is rich, and Allison is a gifted storyteller. And the only thing stranger than African fiction is African truth." --National Geographic Adventure
 
"After reading this entrancing memoir, an African safari may move to No. 1 on your travel wish list. The only catch is you'll want the author as your guide." --Chicago Sun-Times
 
Praise for Don't Look Behind You:
 
"The best compliment you can pay a travel writer is to read his work and feel like you're right there with him. For more than two hundred pages, I felt like I was in Africa, up to my neck in danger. I don't even know this guy, but more than once I lay awake at night, worrying for his safety. Enough adventure, action, life lessons, and laughs to fill a movie and four sequels. The fact that Allison survived to write any of this down is a miracle in itself." --Cash Peters, author of Naked in Dangerous Places and Gullible's Travels

From the Back Cover

On his nineteenth birthday, Peter Allison flipped a coin. One side meant Africa and the other, South America, the two places he most wanted to explore. After eight years as a safari guide in Africa and another eight in Sydney, Australia, he finally makes his way to Santiago, Chile, ready to seek out the continent’s wildest adventures and to chase the elusive jaguar.

In just the first six months, Allison is bitten by a puma (several times), knocked on his head by a bad empanada, and surrounded by piranhas while rafting down a Bolivian river—all because of his fear of staying in any one place for too long. Ever the gifted storyteller, Allison makes many observations about life in humid climes and exactly what it is like to be nearly blasted off a mountain by the famous Patagonia wind. His self-deprecating humor is as delightful as his crazy stunts, and his love for animals—even when they bite—is infectious.

 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; Original edition (December 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780762777563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762777563
  • ASIN: 0762777567
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Julia Flyte TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
Peter Allison is an animal enthusiast who spent eight years working at an African safari lodge (documented in his two previous books, Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide and Don't Look Behind You!: A Safari Guide's Encounters with Ravenous Lions, Stampeding Elephants, and Lovesick Rhinos. In 2009-2010, he spent 18 months traveling around South America and this book is about his adventures on that continent. They include living naked with Ecuadorian native tribes, exploring glaciers in Patagonia, near death on an Amazonian river and volunteering at a wildlife shelter where his job required taking a puma for its daily exercise (and frequently being bitten in return). The variety of locations makes it more disjointed than his previous books, but it's just as pleasurable to read.

Allison is a very entertaining and self-deprecating writer, who makes the most of his adventures. The kind of guy you'd love to sit next to on a plane or strike up a conversation with in a pub. I particularly enjoyed the very amusing chapters about his experiences "walking" Roy the puma. He has a very good way of communicating what his travel experience was like, both the highs (invariably involving encounters with local people and wildlife) and lows (brutal illnesses, bull ants, lurking caiman crocodiles, tiresome tourists). While ultimately many of the stories amount to "something bad almost happened, but didn't", they are still great fun and well told.
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I bought this book after hearing Peter Allison on the radio doing a promo of the book. I was enthralled by the interview. Peter Allison spoke with humour & candour telling of life in the jungle, his travels and most importantly, of walking a Puma. I thought "I must have this book" and I was so happy I bought it. Allison documents his travels in a way that is grass-roots, telling of all things that can & do go wrong, the unexpected, the annoying, (especially when you are Un-co and have a knack for getting into a bind). In this book, basically a diary of Allison's adventures & travels through South America, we are introduced to Roy, the orpahaned Puma, being cared for at a sanctaury, by volunteers who come and go. Now it's Allison's turn to "Walk a Puma". The writing is hilarious & at times sad. I'd say it is an Eye Opener. We in the cities have little idea how the rest of the world live and survive. This book is different, in a good way. Read it and just be entertained. I would like to know what has become of Roy since?
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Peter Allison is a fun read. I devoured his books on Africa, often laughing out loud at his self-deprecation, humor and the wonderful absurdities he seems to walk into, eyes- wide. How to Walk A Puma is no less interesting but it is about South America which, no slur intended, does not charm me as Africa does. For those who are interested in his travels there (or simply enjoy spending time with a very down to earth nature/animal loving everyman) this book will be a pleasure. As always, I learned a lot. (Like army ants are scary as hell and, what true wanderlust looks and sounds like) I hope Peter keeps writing. He'll probably end up in an old folk's home in Timbucktu and his adventures via a wheelchair will continue to crack me up.
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Peter Allison took a much more introspective approach to this book. It's his experience as a traveler, vs being a guide for travelers. It was a very enjoyable read. His love for everything wild shines through.
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Peter Allison has a delightful sense of humor, and I had to struggle not to laugh aloud in public a few times when I was reading How to Walk a Puma. It's a fun read between using a puking cat as a pick up line, dodging puma attacks, and surviving earthquakes and crazy drivers, there is a lot to enjoy. At some point I became a bit annoyed at someone having the time to spend a year and a half just doing whatever came to his mind, but that was probably more jealousy on my part than bad writing on his!
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Funny, Funny, Funny. I enjoyed it so much. It is so easy to relate to the things that happen to this person that it seems you are right beside him as they happen. I have read many of the "travel adventure" type books and this is one I would recommend for anyone. I also recommend "The Bear Ate my Pants". I also loved "Malaika" but was saddened by it.
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This is a fantastic book for animal and adventure lovers. I would give it six or seven or ten stars if they were available. It is well written, really fun to read with an amazing sense of humor to keep you turning the pages. Peter Allison has another of these books, "Don't Look Behind You" as well and both are fantastic so order them together. You will be absolutely delighted. I promise!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ever since I read my first Peter Allison book in April of last year I've been waiting eagerly to read his newest book of adventures! Unfortunately I was on the waiting list for the library since the book's release date but at least I was the first one to read the copy I got last week (Which I finished in a few hours mind you).

This one was just as funny and entertaining as I had hoped it would be though you can tell that Peter went at his journey across South America a little older and a little wiser. I say older because he frequently refers to himself as that. But despite being a little older he held up a lot better than I would have if I had been the one traveling so much.

Of course, for me the best part of the book was that he still managed to get himself into loads of hilarious and dangerous positions. My favourite part of the book is when he talks about meeting Roy, a puma that he was to "walk" every day for about a month. Now while these large cats are considerably smaller than the lions in Africa they're still stronger than any man. They're bodies are all muscle despite their delecate appearence and Peter sure got to experiance the power that Roy had first hand as he was often the one that was getting bitten by, jumped on and dragged along through the rainforest by Roy.

Peter Allison's tales in this book are sure to delight any fan of his works, he's snarky and hilarious in a way that only he could be. His experiences are wonderful to read about and I'm glad he decided to write a third book based on his adventures in South America, the country that lost the coin toss when he was 19 years old and wanting to take a year off.
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