After graduation from Brown University in 1986, Susan Gilman and Claire Van Houton (name and physical attributes have been changed), decide they want to backpack and see the world. They get this idea from a place mat at the International House of Pancakes.
These young, naive New York City and New England girls begin their journey in Communist China just days after outsiders were allowed to enter the country. First stop Hong Kong, and culture shock pretty much hits as soon as the Susie and Claire get off the plane. From communication problems to cockroaches and filth, world travels are not what the two expected.
Within six weeks of travel. it is apparent to the reader that Claire is not just acting rich, spoiled and moody, as Susie believes is the case. Susie does not seem to realize that her friend is in fact, paranoid, delusional and perhaps schizophrenic.
While I did enjoy parts of this audio book, I found Susie and Claire unlikeable, the story full of cliches, and I couldn't get beyond the fact the author, an Ivy League grad (who read the audio book) mispronounced several words in her reading. If you are looking for a travelogue, I would recommend looking elsewhere, or if you feel you must read this book, borrow it from the library like I did.
RATING - 2/5; COMPLETED - 7/24/09; Library Book