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Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave Paperback – July 13, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
—National Outdoor Book Award
“Breathtaking. . . . As Heller slips deeper and deeper into the surfing world, he teeters at the edge of obsession. . . . Over the course of this journey, Heller comes to understand the power of the waves, the value of the ocean and its suffering at the hands of man. Perhaps most important, he discovers his ability to commit, to love.”
—The Dallas Morning News
“Told with an honesty and self-deprecating sense of humor, Heller’s tale is as much about surfing as it is about his personal growth as an individual once he starts getting his glide on. With a finely trained ability to both have insight and share it, Heller connects the dots between the simple act of surfing, emotional health, personal redemption, and our duty to work as stewards of Mother Earth. Next time an employer, a parent, or a significant other questions why you surf or what the bigger meaning of so much time getting waterlogged actually adds up to, this book is the ideal answer to give them.”
—Santa Barbara Independent
“The book may be about surfing, but the real subject here is obsession. How far is one man willing to push his body, mind, and relationship to achieve a singular goal? Though Peter Heller may end up catching a wave that is perfect, the life lessons along the way are even more powerful.”
—Mark Obmascik, author of Halfway to Heaven and The Big Year
“Heller is a guy you would want to go on an adventure with: likeable, fallible, good-humored, given to near-fatal bouts of love—for the ocean, for his girl, for the perfect wave. What begins as a mid-life crisis evolves, in this engaged and engaging story, into a deeply impassioned stand on behalf of marine-life, and of all life. Kook makes the dangerously unhip suggestion that it is still possible to find meaning--even transcendence--in the ever diminishing natural world.”
—Pam Houston, author of Sight Hound
“Heller takes us on a wild, unforgettable adventure with the poet's gift for capturing the quintessential in risking everything and the transformation that comes with it. This book is a funny, compelling exploration of love, surfing and the everyday, even when life proves as uncompromising as the wave.”
—Rebecca Rowe, author of Forbidden Cargo
"The author has a great feel for people… As a result, the reader gets to know a collection of fascinating characters: surf stars, expats, and environmentalists, to say nothing of the creatures of the sea…Mr. Heller’s colorful and informative paean to humility belongs on the bookshelves of kooks and surf gods alike." --The East Hampton Star
Top Customer Reviews
That being said . . . it was a good read and interesting story.
I'll start by saying this book is an easy read, entertaining and well worth the price of admission, even to non-surfers. Heller, as a self desribed kook (or beginner), takes us slowly into surfing culture and lingo at a pace where we can easily understand certain aspects of surfing without actually being a surfer. There is a good feel for the complexity and commitment that it takes to become proficient at surfing and I thought the author was able to get the emotions and spirituality of the surfing experience across to a wider audience. As a surfing lifestyle book, I think it is a sucess.
The other themes of the book are secondary: Ocean Conservation and Relationships. It is obvious Heller's passion is the ocean and there is a conservationist message sprinkled throughout that is mostly well integrated, but at times seemed a bit forced. If you are a right wing ultra conservative (or Japanese) you may find the message off putting, but if you fall into that camp you probably wouldn't be out surfing or reading this book.
The only reason I didn't give the book a full five stars is because I wasn't convinced Heller learned the relationship advice he was giving himself as he grew throughout the book. Towards the end of the book, he doesn't seem to be any more understanding of his girlfriend/wife's difficulties, and even if he understands, he doesn't seem to actually *do* anything about it, he just goes surfing and leaves her behind or whines about having to wait for her, even though he knows its selfish. As a relationship book, I think this fails.Read more ›
This is where the book kind of grated on me--Heller's personality irritated me, at least. He's having an admitted mid-life crisis at 45-48. While he seems to enjoy surfing, what he really craves is having mastery of the sport that would make him feel better about himself and ooze cool in the presence of others. This desire to be hipper than Thou is off-putting, for me at least, and apparently for a good number of other reviewers. Heller is obviously an accomplished writer and outdoorsman who's devoted many hours to being good at both. Why can't he be satisfied with that? What is so much better about surfing anyway? He never tells us and never seems to really reflect deeply on that question either. How would he feel about someone who decided they'd become an accomplished, and well reviewed author in six months? Hmmm? As other reviewers have noted, Heller can be very rude to other surfers and inconsiderate of his wife/girlfriend.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book was not that climatic nor insightful as far as adventure is concerned if you are a travels surfer like myself.Published 1 month ago by James R. Copeland
I loved Peter Heller's other books. 'The Dog Stars' and 'The Painter'. Both excellent. And, having grown up in SoCal. At the beach every minute I could be. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Patrick Champagne
A great read for anyone even the least bit interested in surfing.
But I tend to take it with a grain of salt when the author described, maybe a month or so into surfing... Read more
it's okay. Not bad, not great - the last third of the book just kinda putts along.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Was excited to read this because I grew up in Huntington. But was pretty cheesy and out of touch with the culture. Sorry for the bad review.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer