There can be few more potentially charming people than the excellent storyteller – than the great anecdotist. He weaves words and he captivates an audience with tales spun either from fiction, or, better still, from his own experience.
Dave Gorman’s work may at once seem far-fetched, but in fact it is firmly grounded in reality. In an attempt to write a novel, the internet proved the bane of his existence. The internet contains everything about anything, “and I sometimes find everything in the whole world ever can be a little distracting”, he muses. Discovering that his website is a googlewhack (for a fuller explanation please consider the link included below), he searches for a googlewhack of his own. Through this he meets someone who goes on to become his friend, and subsequently attempts to googlewhack for himself. At his first try he meets another David Gorman, already known to the author!
The coincidence, billions to one, is the spark of a bigger adventure, to meet many “googlewhacks”, and causes Gorman to travel for 3 months with such regularity that he makes jet-setting businessmen seem homebound. On the way, his novel, merely an idea, is put on a permanent hiatus, and at the conclusion of the challenge that he sets himself (to make a chain of ten googlewhacked people), he has sufficient material to write a lengthy book on his travels.
Stylistically, the book may not be the prettiest of works, but Gorman’s irrepressible humour, which has seen him write a number of comedy shows, always shines through. Throughout the book, Gorman writes well of the people he meets, the hospitality he enjoys, and of the sheer absurdity of his journey. Critics have termed Dave Gorman the next Bill Bryson for his attitude to travel and his gently amusing writing style. To my mind, what sets this book apart is not so much its interest as a travel guide, but rather, owing to the truth of the events, a reassuring restoration of faith in the kindness and generosity of the ordinary person, at a time when the culture of fear and a distrust of strangers is often fostered.