A Journey of Love and Light: A Review of Joshua Berman's 'Crocodile Love'
Joshua Berman, the author, has firsthand experience in the importance of being open to every facet of another culture. Before Berman got married, he served for two years in Nicaragua as a Peace Corp Volunteer. His time in Central America led to two professions: Spanish teacher and travel writer. As a travel writer, Berman has produced guidebooks for Belize, Nicaragua, and Colorado campgrounds, all published with Moon Handbooks. In addition, Berman is a travel columnist with The Denver Post.
Crocodile Love: Travel Tales of an Extended Honeymoon is the account of Berman and Sutay’s 16 month honeymoon across 16 countries in Asia and Africa. Most of their time is spent in Pakistan, India, Ghana, and The Gambia. Their adventures revolve around bookend quests: Sutay’s search for great-grandfather’s legacy as the former Director of the elite Gordon College of Rawalpandi in Pakistan, and her return to the village of Sara Kunda, in The Gambia, where she had spent two years as a Peace Corp Volunteer.
In between these missions, the newlyweds travel as tourists and volunteers. Their altruistic encounters humanize the people they encounter along the way—and thanks to Berman’s fine-tuned cultural sensitivities the encounters are never patronizing or condescending. He writes of the hardships and struggles of others straightforwardly. He tells their truths with understanding and compassion, thus bringing his readers into the light as well.
The tale of their prolonged honeymoon is always engaging. Indeed, Crocodile Love is a page turner. What’s more, Berman sharp, sensory writing allows the reader to tag along. One can hear the sounds, react to the scents, taste the cuisine, feel the grit and grime of arduous travel, and envision everything clearly through his vivid descriptions.
The quality of a great book, in my estimation, becomes evident when after months of having first read it, episodes whiff though one’s mind to elicit a smile or even a momentary sense of wonder. In Crocodile Love, readers are lucky to have such a book.
(Joshua Berman’s book is available in hardcopy and on kindle at Amazon.com. For more information, visit http://joshuaberman.net/)