Since official baseball correspondent Tripp is coming to visit this week, I figured I’d pull myself out of my blogging slump and finally review the book he recommended to me, Honeymoon with My Brother by Franz Wisner.
In Wisner’s autobiographical travelogue, he recounts how being left at the altar spurred him to sever almost all connections to his pre-jilting life (job, home, and even some personality traits) and travel the world in the hope of finding his place in it. Along for the ride was his younger brother Kurt, the typically laid-back younger sibling, a perfect foil to the Type-A Franz. Together, they traverse five continents and build a brotherly bond that both admit had been missing.
If you knew Tripp as I do, you wouldn’t be the least bit surprised that this is the kind of book he’d recommend. But even a cynic like me enjoyed it. I love travel writing, and Wisner’s extensive mileage and precise recollection of certain places and events had me itching to pack my bags. Wisner is equally good at describing the people he encountered on his travels, and it’s no surprise that Kurt is the supporting player who comes most alive in these pages. Wisner’s ex-fiancee Annie is also well-drawn, though I found nothing remotely attractive or charming about her. That isn’t to say Wisner’s portrayal of her is a hatchet job. On the contrary, he still writes about her lovingly, wistfully–yet she still seemed like an icy bitch to me. Wisner himself comes off as a bit of a snob, but one who becomes a bit more self-aware of his priggishness on his journey.
You wouldn’t know it from the title, but I think the most fascinating relationship in the book is between the Wisner brothers and their grandmother, LaRue, who chronicles their voyages on a world map in her nursing home. While Franz’s parents worry about whether he has health insurance and how he plans to secure employment after this wallet-crushing, two-year sabbatical, LaRue and her peers only want to know where the boys are going next.