Adventure in Borneo: The True Story of One Man’s Quest to Find the Bornean Peacock Pheasant
Reviewed by Jen Karsbaek for Reader Views (09/08)
Promising but Disappointing, 1 star
Dan loved birds. He was fascinated by them. He was particularly interested in pheasants, perhaps because he was never able to classify exactly what a pheasant was: “Pheasants are an odd group of birds that are loosely related and don’t quite fit anywhere else. For every one thing that they all have in common, there will always be at least one exception to the rule.” In his obsession with pheasants, Dan became aware of and particularly obsessed with one particular kind of pheasant: The Bornean Peacock Pheasant. With the death of the one living pair in the United States and no documented sightings in the wild since 1962, Dan felt that he needed to travel to Borneo to try and discover whether or not any Bornean Peacock Pheasants still existed.
“Adventure in Borneo” really had quite a bit of potential. It could have been both an exciting, adventure filled travelogue as Dan journeyed through the interior of the Bornean forest. At the same time, it could have been very informative and interesting dealing with pheasants in general and the different pheasants with which Dan comes in contact in particular.
Unfortunately, the book was simply not very well done.
There was no particularly bad grammar writing, but neither was there particularly good writing. The sentence structure and word choice were just not particularly complex or sophisticated. In the interest of attempting to be informative and cover everything, Durrah had a tendency to jump from topic to topic almost as if by stream of consciousness, which gave the book a very choppy feel. I felt as if there was no background as to why Dan is so interested in pheasants in general or the Bornean Peacock Pheasant in particular. Certainly it is not communicated to the reader why these might be subjects of interest. Interested he clearly is, though, because there is a good deal of discussion on the topic of pheasants that is not grounded in any background information and will go over the head of most readers. In addition, ‘adventure’ seems to be a bit of a misnomer for Dan’s journey, although I’m not sure if that is due to a lack of urgency in the writing or the actual nature of his trip.
If you are very interested in pheasants or Borneo you may enjoy this book; otherwise your reading time could probably be put to better use.