Cover Image: Freedom Sex and a Meat Cleaver

Freedom Sex and a Meat Cleaver

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Member Reviews

this was a really enjoyable memoir, I enjoyed going on this journey with the book and I loved the way the author wrote the story.
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I have to admit, I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The author tells of his crazy adventures traveling around Southeast Asia in the 70's, after his discharge from the Air Force. Crazy is too mild of a descriptor, some of his stories are incredibly hair-raising! From seedy opium dens to very classy restaurants, he visits some amazing places. Including spending days in a Thai jail. Encounters with mysterious (CIA?) agents, being in country during Pol Pot's murderous reign, making friends with prostitutes, to being chased with a meat cleaver, it's all in here!  Told in a very easy to read style, the pages just flew by. I wish it was longer! 
Man, would I like to sit down with a few beers and listen to the author's stories. I'll bet there's plenty more he could tell! 
I'm putting this one down as one of the most surprisingly enjoyable books that I have read this year! 
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<i>Note: This book was provided at not cost by NetGalley, where this review has been posted.</i>

To be honest, although geography, politics/geopolitics, and history interest me a lot, I don’t know much about the early 70s nor about Southeast Asia, which was the reason why I requested this book. I can only congratulate myself because “Freedom, Sex, And A Meat Cleaver” turned out to be not only a source of interesting first-hand information (first-hand as in “been there, seen it”) but above all a highly entertaining read. I feared to get a dry narrative listing events and places with much too much telling and not enough showing, but to my utter delight, the author is an apt, skilful writer who knows how to grab his readers’ attention and not let go till the last full stop. I even have to say, the book was way too short—I would have enjoyed more chapters.

This is supposed to be a memoir/autobiography, but in fact it’s more a loose collection of short and delectable stories. I guess the author tries to “hide” behind the narrator’s name Pierce Colter, but his short biography shows that he might have had all these adventures himself. Pierce, after having been discharged from the army, returns to Thailand, where he served during the Vietnam War. He’s in the early twenties, free as a bird, a bit clueless, a bit naïve, altogether much too trusting, but extremely endearing and easy-going. I enjoyed his unbiased curiosity, his open mind, and his healthy sense of humour. He wants to find out things for the sheer beauty of finding out things. My favourite episodes were the meat-cleaver story, hilarious; the bong-stunt; and of course the story about the Singapore slings (I wasn’t sure I had got the blurb’s double-entendre right at first and was proud when I realized I had… plus I was giggling like an idiot).

Well-written, well-paced, this is a book that shows history as what it really is: not a dry subject invented to torture high-school students, but bits and slices of live experiences that real, three-dimensional, breathing people have been through. In turns delightful, insightful, painful, or outright embarrassing, it also shows how a prolonged sojourn abroad can form people and make them evolve.

I can only recommend this read to any reader eager to spend a good moment—don't worry, no violence, no graphic sex scenes despite the title.
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