Hi everyone! This Monday I thought I’d review The Unguidebook: Hong Kong and Macau, the first in a series of travel guides by husband and wife team Douglas and K Mackenzie Freeman. I’ve never reviewed a travel book on this blog before so this shall be interesting! I picked the Hong Kong and Macau one primarily because of the locations – I’ve always been interested in Hong Kong and wanted to know more about it.
The Unguidebook series, as you can guess from their title, aren’t like other guidebooks. They don’t have a list of places to go. Instead, the Freemans have written small anecdotes about their time in the areas, and what their experience of them were like. This proved to be a fascinating read as you witness the thoughts and emotions of the writers, as well as learn more about the places.
All the stories told are exactly 1,000 words, meaning the book is reminiscent of a photo album; snapshots of a particular time and location. The Freemans’ writing is really good, very evocative and also quite funny in places. It really brings Hong Kong and Macau to life. There is a lot of repetition of water imagery, especially referring to things like the sea which I have mixed feelings about. Whilst it might have been nice to change up the language a little bit, the fact that the Freemans were visiting islands and taking ferries makes it understandable why water is linked to their experience. The repetition never made me lose interest but it was becoming more obvious the more I read. The photographs dotted throughout as well really helped. They tied in nicely with the stories being told, giving you a sense of place. Without them breaking up the writing, and helping aid the narration, the book would have fallen flat.
I enjoyed reading The Unguidebook and found the little snippets of another country really fascinating. It’s also an interesting premise for a series of travel books, which tend to list places to go/eat or things to do. Capturing the feel of the place is a lot harder to do but I think the Freemans pull it off well. And now I really want to go to Hong Kong now.
The Unguidebook: Hong Kong & Macau is published independently and you can find more information here.