Advance reader reviews of The Voluntourist by Ken Budd.

The Voluntourist

A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate, and Singing Bon Jovi in Bethlehem

By Ken Budd

The Voluntourist
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  May 2012,
    464 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

Page 3 of 3
There are currently 17 member reviews
for The Voluntourist
Order Reviews by:
  • Rebecca R. (Las Vegas, NV)

    A Man's Version of
    As someone who loves adventure travel and enjoys unique, supposedly un-glamorous destinations, I enjoyed reading this book. The first person male narrator's search for fulfillment and a meaningful life will be particularly relevant to anyone reaching the big four-oh birthday (and older) who has also lost a parent. That sudden feeling of being the oldest generation in one's family, the feeling that options might be tightening, etc. are of concern to a huge generation of baby boomers. For those reasons, the book struck me - somewhat- as a male version of "Eat, Pray,Love."
    That said, I did not enjoy this book as much as I did Gilbert's self-searching travelogue. Before I comment further on that, let me first say that the strong points are the humorous anecdotes, the wide variety of countries visited, and the refreshing honesty about political situations as well as about being a volunteer in places where a Westerner is a rarity. I have experienced that same gut wrenching feeling on the last day in remote locations. In fact, this might be a good book for other volunteer-tourists to read. The country chapters make it easy to recommend that someone focus on just a particular country. The aspect of the book that bothered me and made me hesitate about the rating (good v. average) was the narrator's repetitive obsession with not having a child. The return to this regret was like watching a movie over streaming video and having it stop at the same point several times or an old-fashioned experience of a vinyl record with a scratch that causes a word to repeat over and over. Irritating! I found myself thinking, "For Pete's sake. If he is THAT upset then how on earth does his marriage work?" Get divorced and find a partner that wants this one same goal. How could this couple have not discussed this major issue more thoroughly a long time ago? It made me wonder if the harmonious ending to this life issue will be lasting.
  • John W. (Clayton, Missouri)

    Doesn't Live Up to the Hype
    My wife and I are extremely active volunteers in the non-profit sectors focused on helping under resourced segments of the population domestically and globally so after reading the description of the book I couldn't wait to read it. Unfortunately the content didn’t live up to the hype.

    Ken Budd's memoir is more than a travel journal of his travels to many different places including Ecuador, Kenya, China, and Palestine. The reader does get a brief look into these places and people, one that is not a typical tourist's view. It is the personal journey view that falls short. The author doesn’t express clearly how his voluntourism experiences changes or redefines him. He spends more time describing other volunteers and his interactions with them than he does the people and projects in a very detached manner.

    On a positive note the book shares the challenges and rewards of voluntourism and it is presented in a useful perspective for anyone considering such a trip. I did find the Bethlehem and Kenya sections very interesting, but not enough for me to recommend the book.
  • Lynn W. (Glenn Dale, MD)

    Working towards a life that matters
    I have to love a book that makes me laugh out loud and also moves me to tears. When you add to the mix kids, lack of kids and giving a great quantity of passion and compassion, you have a book that really can teach us to have a life that matters to ourselves and to others.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

A book may be compared to your neighbor; if it be good, it cannot last too long; if bad, you cannot get rid of it...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.