Quirky and Fun – The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure by Jack Handey

Posted 19 November, 2013 by Heather in Blog, Heather, Heather Book Review / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Quirky and Fun – The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure by Jack HandeyThe Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure by Jack Handey
Published by Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Audio on July 16, 2013
Genres: Adult, Adventure, Humor
Pages: 240
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
3.5 Stars

The legendary Deep Thoughts and New Yorker humorist Jack Handey is back with his very first novel-a hilarious, absurd, far-flung adventure tale.


Are you a fan of books in which famous tourist destinations are repurposed as unlivable hellholes for no particular reason? Read on!

Jack Handey's exotic tale is full of laugh-out-loud twists and unforgettable characters whose names escape me right now. A reliably unreliable narrator and his friend, who is some other guy, need to get out of town. They have a taste for adventure, so they pay a visit to a relic of bygone days-a travel agent-and discover an old treasure map. She might have been a witch, by the way. Our heroes soon embark on a quest for the Golden Monkey, which takes them into the mysterious and stinky foreign land of Honolulu. There, they meet untold dangers, confront strange natives, kill and eat Turtle People, kill some other things and people, eat another thing, and discover the ruins of ancient civilizations.

As our narrator says, "The ruins were impressive. But like so many civilizations, they forgot the rule that might have saved them: Don't let vines grow all over you."


My Thoughts:

One of the best memories that I have of watching Saturday Night Live in the 1990s are the Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey segments. Take those quirky spots full of dry, witty observations and add in an adventure through these alternate universe jungles of Honolulu featuring a rather clueless and brash guy, and you have The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure.

The narrator and his friend go on vacation to Honolulu, and they wind up trecking through the jungle in search of the golden monkey. Along the way, they have to deal with turtle men, cannibals, overwhelming stenches, and natives. The main character is so self absorbed that I’m not sure a crowbar could pry his head out of his butt, and I guess that is part of his charm. He’s also egotistical, selfish, and a bit dumb, so the fact that you can’t trust a word he says isn’t surprising. But he is hilarious without meaning to be, and that’s what makes book enjoyable.

I give The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure a 3.5 out of 5. I certainly laughed out loud a lot as I listened to this book at work, but the one liners weren’t supported by a cohesive enough overall story that kept me completely interested. I listened to this over the span of a few weeks, and I never really cared that much whether I picked up my iPod right away again or not. Jack Handey’s humor is twisted and a bit off, which is just my kind of humor, so I really enjoyed the jokes–and thankfully there wasn’t a shortage of them. I recommend this one to people who like the dry humor of Handey’s Deep Thoughts segments from SNL back in the 90s, and this book was a notch up in the strange and twisted.


Rating 3.5

I listened to the audiobook provided by Hachette Audio

Get your own Audiobooks at Audible: The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure.

Coming in at just three hours and twelve minutes, this audiobook narrated by author Jack Handey often sounded like one long edition of Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey from Saturday Night Live back in the 90s. I really enjoyed listening to this format, but his even toned delivery that’s so characteristic isn’t one to listen to if you’re sitting still for too long unless you want to be lulled into a deep relaxation state.



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I'm a PhD chemist who loves sarcasm, music, and books-paranormal, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and romance. Most of my free time is spent at the martial arts studio these days--whether practicing Combat Hapkido or reading books while watching my son's Taekwondo classes, or even working up a sweat with Kickboxing for fun. Goodreads

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2 Responses to “Quirky and Fun – The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure by Jack Handey”

  1. I totally remember Jack Handey! That was way back when SNL was good… I can imagine snorting at parts of this story, though it sucks that those laugh-worthy lines weren’t strong enough to pull the story together.
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    Heather 11/20/2013

    I totally agree, Mary. I can’t even remember when I actually watched SNL last. The Stench of Honolulu was really funny, but I think it may have been better if I’d listened to it all at once. It might have made more sense.
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