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Ryan DeJonghe - The Avid Reader

I didn't always read, but that changed in June of 2013. I dropped the unnecessary stuff and picked up the awesome stuff--like reading! I started posting my reviews on Amazon and within a few months rose to the top 0.1% of reviewers. My reviews then went to Goodreads, and now my blog (http://ryandejonghe.wordpress.com) and Twitter (@Ryan_Reads). If you are reading this, why not leave a comment or send me a note? I love talking to other folks about books and my reviews. Publishers and authors, feel free to drop me a note if you want me to review your book. I usually stick to mainstream publishing, but I'll consider anything. If I review your book, I’ll give you a fair and thorough review and let you know when the review goes live. You can reach me at dejonghes@gmail.com. Happy Reading!
A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley - Neal Thompson

You ever see the movie BIG FISH? You know what this book reminds me of? Yeah, BIG FISH, only Ripley actually did those things and met those people, as he described them, even from the beginning. Instead of a baby popping out and sliding across the floor, Ripley’s birth was no less unusual. His dad up and left Appalachia, swam solo across the Ohio River, went across country, and tried his hand in the California gold rush.



Neal Thompson brings this book to life with his adjectively descriptive and curiously captivating writing style. Sure, the subject matter helps, but Thompson keeps you engaged throughout. I particularly enjoyed the “Believe It or Not” segments he spreads throughout. He’ll break the narrative to offer an interesting factoid regarding Ripley’s history. You’ll learn the origins of the phrase “for crying out loud”, how Babe Ruth was called “The Sultan of Swat”, the beginning of yellow journalism, and what happened when Mr. Walt Disney didn’t achieve his dream of becoming a newspaper cartoonist. And that’s just the first ten-percent or so of the book!



As you may already tell, this book features more Ripley himself than what you’ll find on his shows or museums. There are plenty of resources for that, but you’ll still get a tease for it here. This book also features an ODDScan feature with a phone app (sadly, my Windows Phone doesn’t get much love with these things) where you can scan the book’s pictures and see extra content. You can also find this content on the author’s site at http://www.nealthompson.com/books/curiousman/



This book was a bit larger for my tastes, but many will still be interested. It covers important time periods of America’s history, including both World Wars and the Great Depression, and Ripley’s involvement during it all. So, yes, it does take some time to get through, but there’s a reason Leroy “Robert” Ripley was voted “America’s Most Popular Man” by the New York Times.



Thanks Three Rivers Press and Random House for sending this to me. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.