This is the second in a series of reviews of books about family travel. This book review of One Year Off by David Elliot Cohen will give you an outline, but hopefully not any spoilers. Similar to the first book I reviewed, this documents the travels of an American family. But of course their story and their experiences were entirely different…
Book Review of One Year Off by David Elliot Cohen
The book starts with some background on how the author and his family got to the point of deciding to take a round the world trip. The author has an interesting background in producing coffee table photo books. Which shows throughout in the professional style of writing. The second chapter gives some information on how they planned and prepared for their trip. The remainder of the book is based on twenty three email updates he sent to friends throughout their travels. Their travels cover sixteen countries on six continents, so there should be a destination that is of particular interest to almost anyone.
I enjoyed the style of this book. Most destinations were characterised with a particular anecdote or adventure, rather than a generic description of the sights. This provides a much more personal tale. And the anecdotes are often amusing or a little different. They begin their trip by travelling in America. During which time they discover what challenges they may face during long-term family travel. This may provide you with useful food for thought if you are planning a similar journey.
However, for some reason the characters did not really stick with me afterwards. Despite the personal nature of the writing. Perhaps that is because it is written based on reports sent to people already familiar with the characters in the family.
The other aspect I found slightly disappointing was that five months in Australia was rather glossed over. I suspect that the author did not regard staying in one place for so long as ‘travelling’. Or perhaps that period of time was another book in itself!
My favourite part of the book describes their travels in Florence. It made me chuckle anyway. It is a very honest account. The author does not shy away from telling us about the bad experiences, as well as the good. It focuses on their experience of travelling as a family. Rather than details of everything they saw and did. I find this a positive; you can easily find factual descriptions of places, but not necessarily what it is like to visit them with kids.
Would I recommend this book? Certainly, I found it an entertaining read.