essays / memoir

All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft by Geraldine DeRuiter

What a mess All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft turned out to be. I was ready to be dazzled but I was mostly left thrilled that I don’t know this woman. I think she thinks she is being charming and self-deprecating but she really comes across as smug and unpleasant in this book.

She is so upset at spending 12 euros (she has no idea how much that is in American dollars because she admits she can’t be bothered to figure out the exchange rate so who knows if that is a lot or a little) on food she ordered (off the menu) and didn’t think was up to par that she deliberately urinates all over the bathroom of the restaurant. She admits the person cleaning up didn’t deserve it but flat out says its justifiable because she’s drunk and it made her feel better. Talk about the “ugly American” stereotype coming to life! Then she steals from the restaurant.

She isn’t a child when this takes place but an adult woman on vacation with her husband and his work colleagues(!). I think she thinks this is a charming story but it really repulsed me to think of how little she valued people in the service industry.

This is a thread in several of the essays—everyone is there to make her life better and she just does whatever she wants. Shows up late, steals, revenge pees all over the place, makes mistakes when booking tickets but won’t admit it —so many excuses for her erratic, self centered to a near pathological degree behavior. It’s not funny, it’s gross. The sheer entitlement was mind boggling.

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