Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Borneo Tom by Tom McLaughlin

Borneo Tom: In Story and Sketch: Love, Travel and Jungle Family in Tropical Asia by Tom McLaughlin
ISBN: 978-9838082112
Published Aug 27, 2010
Paperback, 132 pages

Borneo Tom is the travel memoir of Tom McLaughlin, a retired science teacher who decided to go live on Borneo Island, even though he was diagnosed with a rare and incurable neurological disease. He wanted to explore Asia and live his dream of learning more about the tropical wildlife and the people who he lived with 35 years ago when he was in the Peace Corps.

The book is written in essay format, with a titled essay on one page and a cartoon sketch on the opposite page. The text and the sketches are funny and honest. McLaughlin briefly describes his treks in chronological order of the places he visited throughout Asia, the people he's encountered, the wildlife he's explored and finally how he met and married his current wife, Suriani.

I was amazed at McLaughlin's courage to climb the jungle's treacherous hills, swim in a crocodile and snake infested river to pan for diamonds, track orangutans, snorkel with jellyfish, visit dangerous Burma, hunt for frogs and critters in the jungle at night, and put up with leeches and swarms of mosquitoes. I admired his will to do all these things because he wanted to experience them (maybe not the leeches and mosquitoes!) and learn more about a culture he loved.

This book was easy and fun to read. McLaughlin writes with self-deprecating humour. The cartoon sketches drawn by Waterfront Niki, a Malaysian artist, are great and truly depict what McLaughlin conveys in his writing. If you are thinking about travelling to Asia, or like to read more about the Asian culture, I think you will enjoy reading about McLaughlin's adventures.  

A portion of the income earned from the sales of Borneo Tom will be used to purchase items for the Matang Wildlife Centre outside of Kuching, Malaysian Borneo to support nature conservation. The Matang Wildlife Centre's primary mission is to return rare and endangered species, particularly orangutan, to the wild.

You can learn more about the author and this book by visiting his website at

Note: This book is rated C = clean read.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Reviewed by Laura 

Disclosure: Thanks to the author and Pump Up Your Book Promotions for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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