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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Cold Beer and a Hot Dart is a non-fiction memoir written by Brandon Wolfe. Wolfe really had no set plans for after he finished high school. He hadn't applied to any colleges and didn't have any ideas for a career path. Instead, the home-schooled teen from Vancouver, Washington decided to go adventuring. He got that opportunity through hooking up with YWAM (Youth with a Mission) in Australia. Wolfe's family and friends were supportive of the plan, and he was off on his first big adventure. YWAM sends young people off to Third World areas for the purpose of being of service to the people they encounter. After touring Australia, Wolfe's group headed for Malaysia and the Solomon Islands, places where demonic possessions, witch doctors and cannibals were, if not commonplace, not unheard of. When he returned home after his six-month term, Wolfe felt adrift and unable to reconnect with the home he had missed while he was away, and so he signed up again for another season with YWAM, and his adventuring life continued.
Brandon Wolfe's non-fiction memoir, Cold Beer and a Hot Dart, reads like an adventure story, but the author is quick to assure his readers that everything they're about to read is, in fact, true. This author had experiences in his twenties that most people only dream about, and for some of the less adventurous those dreams would probably seem more like nightmares. Wolfe's adventures are not for the complacent soul who has no qualms about letting life slip by, but rather they are filled with the stuff that those readers who still thrill to the thought of Livingstone's travels through Africa and who dream of sailing uncharted seas will thrive on.
Wolfe is the perfect narrator for his story. He's brutally honest and more than willing to show the foolhardy side of himself as well as the more heroic adventuring persona. His writing style is companionable and easy, making it seem as though he's really sitting across the table from you, recounting his adventures with a beer in one hand and the ever present hot dart in the other. I had a marvelous time reading this memoir. I loved following Wolfe and his companions as they backpacked through wild places and shared the camaraderie of those adventurers they encountered. While Wolfe shares many of his personal views on religion and a creator, I did not find that it detracted from my enjoyment of his memoir. Cold Beer and a Hot Dart is most highly recommended.