The Black Penguin

Andrew Evans. Univ. of Wisconsin, $24.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-299-31140-7
In this endearing stunt memoir, travel writer Evans combines an improbable trek to Antarctica with his struggles surrounding religion, family, and sexuality. Backed by National Geographic, Evans embarked in 2010 on a bus journey from Washington, D.C., to the tip of South America, where he caught a ferry to Antarctica. This book expands on his tweets and blog posts to capture the highs and lows of nearly two months riding in buses. Sketchy border guards, close calls with violence and natural disasters, and intriguing characters fill vignettes that range from hair-raising to hilarious. In between these tales, he more impressionistically recounts his experiences growing up and being bullied for his nerdish effeminacy. He also tackles the clashes between his Mormon family and his homosexuality and pays homage to the long-lasting relationship with his husband without letting these overwhelm his travelogue. These two distinct halves hold together surprisingly well, thanks to Evans’s excellent writing and eye for detail. The work will appeal equally to fans of clever travel writing and those looking for LGBTQ memoirs that don’t fixate on the angst of coming out. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/13/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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