All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft – Geraldine DeRuiter

(Reviewed by JD Jung)

If you want to be absurdly happy, marry someone you love whom you can spend time with. But most importantly, marry someone who can help you deal with your shit.”

Former copywriter and current travel blogger Geraldine DeRuiter means “shit” literally. The “shitty” part of this book is among the funniest episodes in her memoir, All Over the Place.

She declares right off the bat that this is not a travel guide. She explains that she can only speak with authority about her own experiences.

“…I was an expert at being me: broken, terrified, and lost.” She needs to be in control and unfortunately that doesn’t go along well with traveling. “Every trip is just an opportunity to screw up on a grand scale” , and she does manage to accomplish that.

“I am a neurotic worrier. I obsess about things. I hold grudges. I’m basically Larry David, if he were raised by Don Coreleone from The Godfather.”  Yes, she does seek revenge on the little things—another hilarious part of the book—, and that can be chancy while traveling.

As I started reading, I wasn’t sure if I would like this book even though I was laughing from the beginning. It seemed to be “all over the place” and I wanted her to stick with a specific topic or issue in her life.

In the past I have enjoyed humor from neurotic, relationship-impaired writers. DeRuiter is happily married and seems to be emotionally well-adjusted, even though she is hard on herself. She does mention “Fucking goddamn miserable piece of shit Steve”, but Steve is her brain tumor.

I’m glad I kept with it though,  since I learned that relatability can be hilarious…and I could relate to her on so many levels. I also learned that expressing gratitude can also be accomplished in a humorous way. She aced that one also.

If you want a comical and entertaining read, All Over the Place may be for you. Remember,

“…getting lost isn’t the worst thing in the world. If you are trying to find yourself, it’s a great place to start.”  Yeah, I can relate to that.

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