Summary and book reviews of Headhunters on My Doorstep by J. Maarten Troost

Headhunters on My Doorstep

A True Treasure Island Ghost Story

By J. Maarten Troost

Headhunters on My Doorstep
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Aug 2013,
    304 pages.
    Paperback: Jun 2014,
    304 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Bob Sauerbrey

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Readers and critics alike adore J. Maarten Troost for his signature wry and witty take on the adventure memoir. Hailed by Entertainment Weekly as a "funny, candid, and down-to-earth travel companion," Troost's bestselling debut, The Sex Lives of Cannibals, is an enduring favorite about life in the South Seas.

Headhunters on My Doorstep chronicles Troost's return to the South Pacific after his struggle with alcoholism and time in rehab left him numb to life. Deciding to retrace the path once traveled by the author of Treasure Island, Troost "follows" Robert Louis Stevenson to the Marquesas, the Tuamotus, Tahiti, the Gilberts, and Samoa, explaining (and demonstrating) how these exotic locales earned nicknames like, "The Man Eating Isle," "The Refuge of Exiles," and "The Island of Merrymaking."

Somewhere en route from Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in Tahiti to exploring islands as Robert Louis Stevenson saw them, Troost gradually awakens to the beauty of life and reconnects with his family and the world.  Headhunters on My Doorstep is a funny yet poignant account of one man's journey to find himself that will captivate travel writing aficionados, Robert Louis Stevenson fans, and anyone who has ever lost his way.

Chapter One

Everyone has problems. Spend a few moments catching up with friends and you're likely to hear a litany of catastrophes.

"I lost my job at the prison," one might say.

"I'm going to prison," says another.

"I'm about to lose my home."

"I blew mine up to collect the insurance."

"My ferret died."

"I ate mine."

". . ."

"Long story."

Tales of woe had become inescapable. What were once simple quandaries now seemed to come equipped with trapdoors. One misstep and you'd tumble into the chute of doom, where demotions became terminations, homeowners became squatters, and Little Bandit was no longer safe. I was no exception. I too had problems. Multitudes of problems. If something could go wrong, it usually did. The only law that seemed to apply to me was Mr. Murphy's. For a long while, decades even, the sun had shone upon me. Life had been an effortless glide. I'd traveled the world, married my soul mate, sired two strapping ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse

Troost's Headhunters on My Doorstep is delightful, hilarious, and filled with wisdom grounded in an engaging sense of humor. He mirrors Stevenson's own reflection, “I never knew the world was so amusing,” which he uses on the front-piece. Though Troost does give us a guide to exploring the South Pacific and describes both the histories and cultures of various islands, the story is very much a memoir. Though he doesn't obsess on his own drunken odyssey and the collapse of his life which led him to begin the journey to sobriety, that is important context for understanding how he experiences these islands. He may treat his own drunken escapades with hilarity, but beneath the laughter there is great determination and hope.   (Reviewed by Bob Sauerbrey).

Full Review Members Only (1302 words).

Media Reviews
Barnes and Noble

In the midst of all his misadventures...is the story of how Troost's eventful trek stabilized him and renewed his connections with the world around him.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. A rambunctious, intimate trip well worth the armchair time.

Reader Reviews
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

In Vino Veritas…?

Pen in wine glassThe list is long: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Marcel Proust, Charles Baudelaire, Jack London, F Scott Fitzgerald, Philip K. Dick, Edna St. Vincent Millay, O. Henry, William Burroughs, Ken Kesey, Jack Kerouac, Dorothy Parker, Tennessee Williams…and many more. American writers Eugene O'Neill, Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, and William Faulkner were alcoholics who won Nobel Prizes in literature. In some minds, alcohol and drug addictions have become synonymous with famous writers and other artists. This raises the question about whether intoxicants enhance one's creativity or whether these troubled artists produced great work in spite of their deep sickness of body, mind, and spirit.

Pearl Buck, another Nobel laureate, ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Headhunters on My Doorstep, try these:

  • Bright and Distant Shores jacket

    Bright and Distant Shores

    by Dominic Smith

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    From the award-winning author of The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre and The Beautiful Miscellaneous comes a sweeping historical novel set amid the skyscrapers of 1890s Chicago and the far-flung islands of the South Pacific.

  • Crazy Brave jacket

    Crazy Brave

    by Joy Harjo

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo, one of our leading Native American voices, details her journey to becoming a poet.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
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
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...

First Impressions

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

Books that
expand your
horizons.

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

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  132Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

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.