Reviews

Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite - Readersfavorite.com

  Livin': From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush is a nonfiction travel memoir written by Frankie Hogan. Hogan is an adventurer/explorer who decided to stop letting life get in the way of his yearning for travel and experiencing new lands and cultures. Livin’ is a collection of memoirs of his solo trips, group trips, and those more local trips he took when there were stricter time limits. His interest in history made going to Egypt and Greece must-see destinations, despite the political turmoil and unrest in each of these countries. While he had postponed his initial plans to visit Egypt in 2011 due to the revolution during that time, he had no qualms about booking his trip for the spring of 2013. Seeing history come alive outside his hotel window in those views of the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Pyramid of Khafre, and learning about the history of the area courtesy of his own Egyptologist, made any risks well worth taking. Amsterdam was another must-experience for this adventurer, who recounts his experiences in this European capital famous for its permissive attitudes towards marijuana and its Red Light District. 


Frankie Hogan’s non-fiction travel memoir, Livin': From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush, is an enthralling and entertaining look at travel through the author’s eyes. Hogan packs a wealth of experiences and adventures into this relatively short memoir, and each destination he describes is shared in a wryly affectionate tone. I especially enjoyed Hogan’s trips to Egypt, Africa and Vietnam. The Egyptian memoir is a marvelous travel story that focuses on the history and the author’s own reverence for the antiquities and structures that have withstood the tests of time. His African experience gives a wealth of details on his travels in that continent. As I read it, I found myself searching the internet to learn more about some of the things and animals he encountered during that adventure, including Table Mountain in Cape Town and the African Painted Dogs. When he visits Fairbanks, I held my breath as he and his group were waiting for the Aurora Borealis to appear, and wondered if they’d reach the Arctic Circle before having to turn back because of the storm. Hogan is an excellent guide for the armchair adventurer. His stories are epic and humorous all at once, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously, which adds to the fun. His modern-day explorations are inspirational and will, no doubt, have readers planning their own expeditions. Livin': From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush is most highly recommended.  

Diane Donovan - Sept 17 issue of MBR Bookwatch at Midwest Book Review. www.midwestbookreview.com

 Livin': From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush relates a  common problem: author Frankie Hogan always wanted to travel; but as  the years went by, there were always obstacles and problems involved in  making the leap. One day he decided to travel in a big way, making an  around-the-world journey that eschewed life getting in the way of his  plans.
 

Plenty of travel memoirs tell of people who embarked on similar  sojourns; but few hold the tone and adventure of Livin'. For one thing,  Hogan's voice is ribald, spicy, and pulls no punches: he tells it like  it is, with his streetwise childhood adding a gritty tone of observation  to events that proves compelling for readers seeking a "you are here"  flavor to the observations: "Egypt. Back in 2011, I had been days away  from booking the trip when the revolution hit. Let's just say being  white as Casper and an American to boot, I wanted to let tensions die  down. When I started to tell people I was headed to Cairo in the spring  of 2013, I still collected a lot of someone-just-shit-on-my-lap looks.  But the way I see it is, how long is long enough? 2014? 2020? People who  want to "give it a few more years" never get there."
 

It should be forewarned that this narrative style includes coarse  language and candid assessments. Readers who seek a staid, intellectual  approach to travel should look elsewhere; but those who appreciate a  tell-it-like-it-is style will relish adventures which are liberally  peppered with embellishments not usually seen in a travel narrative:  "Fucking Egypt! I went for my wallet and opened the first flap to find  it empty. What could I give him? I searched, and the only currency I  found was fifty Mexican pesos. I handed them to him. He slickly  inspected them with a look of wonderment and let me through. He must  have thought he had scored a ton of dough, when in actuality, I had  given him four bucks. But now I can erase bribing a cop from my bucket  list. And that's how I left Egypt."
 

As for the encounters themselves: anticipate a heady mix of true grit,  wit, colorful language and observations, and an uncensored view of life  in other countries; especially as they relate to meetings with an  American traveler. From drugs and hookers in Africa to his impressions  of Vietnam ("Vietnam was talked up by every Tom, Dick, and Harry I met  who had been there, which encouraged me to get past the limitations of  second-hand impressions to see the country and its people for myself. Ha  Long, the jungles outside Saigon, and the villages around the Mekong  all had an organic allure. But the most surprising aspect of the trip  was the vitality of the cities. Hanoi and Saigon both demonstrated a  special ambience."), readers awaiting their own epiphany for beginning  overseas journeys will find Hogan's first-hand impressions the next best  thing to leaving home. 


 If it's a compelling view of the everyday lives of people, the  schemers and scammers of other countries, the underside of daily living,  and the underlying impact of travel experience that is desired, the  armchair reader could do no better than to follow Frankie Hogan in  Livin': From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush.
 

Its focus on these facets of societies which are often missed by typical  American travelers offers a rare glimpse into the nitty-gritty of real  life in a flagrantly colorful story highly recommended for any global  travel narrative collection or reader. 

Alyssa Elmore for Readers' Favorite - Readersfavorite.com

  Livin' (From The Amsterdam Red Light To The African Bush) by Frankie Hogan is an entertaining travel memoir about a man's journeys to unique and exotic locations around the world. Screenwriter Frankie Hogan has always had a desire to experience things; things he can't encounter from outside a movie set. He wanted to experience the hot desert sun being shadowed by The Great Pyramid in Egypt, a safari in Africa, and so many other things. But when? One day, a few years ago, Frankie decided that "someday" was today. Disregarding everyone's opinions of his impulsive behavior, he boards a plane and Frankie's adventures in traveling begin. Visiting places such as the Pyramids of Egypt, the jungles of Peru, The Forbidden City in China, plus so many more locations, Frankie's accounts give you historical and picturesque views of otherwise distant lands and experiences. Be prepared to be amazed and inspired to make today your day to follow your dreams to new horizons and exotic lands! 


Livin' (From The Amsterdam Red Light To The African Bush) by Frankie Hogan is more than just a book on travel; it is a detailed and friendly account of a man's travels around the world beyond North America, through the author's eyes. I loved how much history the author shares with readers. His accounts are well-balanced and entertaining if a little too honest. Although there is definitely adult content and cussing, the book's other content outshines the more questionable aspects. I felt like I was with the author as he traveled to different continents, experiencing the cultures, cuisine, and languages. The author states that he wrote the book to inspire people to take the trip(s) of their dreams. As far as I am concerned, his book has accomplished its purpose. I would recommend this book to adults that love reading books on travel and to those who carry a passport "just in case" someday comes. Make today your someday and take the trip of your dreams!  

Valerie Porter for YFR - Yourfirstreview.com

  This book isn’t the polished, professional travel guide of a Frommer's, Fodor’s or even a Lonely Planet – but that’s the whole point, no doubt. It’s a highly personal, slightly rough and irreverent yet strangely informative bit of writing. All in all, it must be said that this is a very enjoyable reading experience with a motivational message at its heart – travel now – why put something wonderful off until the chance passes you by? True of travel, and true of life.   

Sefina Hawke for Readers' Favorite - Readersfavorite.com

Livin' (From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush) by

Frankie Hogan is a non-fiction travel book that would appeal most

to a mixed audience of adults and mature young adults with a love

of travel and who do not mind explicit language and sexual

situations. This book is a combination of Frankie Hogan’s numerous

trips around the world and his experiences from each trip. He

shares what it is truly like to travel to all these places around the

world and what they were like when he got there. This is not a

bland travel guide, but rather an around the world adventure tour

book!


Livin' (From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush) by

Frankie Hogan was a very interesting read because it did not read

like a dry travel guidebook, but rather like an adventure novel. Any

guide book can include a list of places to eat and must-see spots,

but Frankie Hogan did not just tell me about those places, he took

me there! As I was reading, I could actually picture what was

happening and imagine myself there, which gave me the ability to

tell if the place was truly somewhere I would enjoy traveling to or

not. My favorite part of the book was at the beginning when he

travels to Egypt and Ibraham guided him through the airport and

into his taxi. I could picture just how easily I could become lost at

such an airport. It was a good learning experience for me as I now

know that if I travel to Egypt I will arrange for someone to meet me

at the airport to guide me through it as well. Overall, this is a

necessary-read book for anyone considering a trip to a foreign

country!

Blurbs

Don Bruns - USA Today bestselling author of Thrill Kill

I've traveled some of the roads Frankie Hogan writes about. Apparently I've missed ninety percent of the craziness and fun. Livin' is the most balls out, bizarre, profane, exciting travelogue I've ever  experienced and I was exhausted when I finished it. This guy is  absolutely crazy. Enjoy the adventureand I promise you, you will! 



Ross Rojek - San Francisco Book Review

5 Stars.  Livin' should give any  armchair adventurer the final push to get out of the house and buy that  ticket to the first exotic location they've always dreamed of visiting.  Funny, profane, and entertaining, Livin' will encourage you to go off the beaten path, away from the tour buses, and really experience foreign culture. 

Jim Nesbitt - Silver Falchion finalist and author of The Last Second Chance

 We all wish we had Frankie Hogan’s guts—a willingness to throw life’s  conventions over the handrail and take off on a righteous, raucous and  strangely reverent tear around the world with the booze-and-sex-laced  gusto of a veteran boulevardier and the wide-eyed wonder of a child.