Picks and Pans Review: If God Wanted Us to Travel...
It's tempting to say that If God Wanted Us to Travel is 216 pages of the least funny, most offensive and generally stupid jokes and anecdotes ever compiled. Make that 206 pages. There are 5—or if you're feeling giggly, maybe 10—passages that might provoke a mild chuckle or two. Let's see: At $16.95 for the book, that's at least $1.69 or so per laugh. Not bad, if all the movie theaters are closed, the TV's on the blink and you've run out of interest in the spin cycle.
The tolerable part is at the start. After an amusing section in which he skewers camping, horseback riding, sailing, hunting and fishing, Brenner takes on airport gift shops ("What kind of person knows a kind of person who is just dying for a Mexican man taking a siesta with a tall cactus growing up from between his legs?").
All movement from the early pages is downhill. "I love travel," writes Brenner—pre-Jay Leno, the semiregular substitute host of The Tonight Show. But he has an odd way of showing it, insulting almost every nationality and every country he has visited. (When in Cuba, "do not refer to the women swimming at the beach as 'the Bay of Pigs.' ") What is not offensive is usually nonsense; half the book is lists—"Things you hate to hear," "Things you'll never see when you are traveling" and "Things you hate to see," among others too dull to mention. (Pocket Books, $16.95)