William Finnegan’s Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life is the perfect gift for the adventurer or, at least, the adventurous spirit. Finnegan grew up in California and Hawaii, developing an addiction to surfing. With acute self awareness and honesty he gives us a look at the surfing world and the people who inhabit it, in what is one of the best adventure memoirs in years.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life is a book about beach bums. Finnegan’s world is occupied by writers, doctors, carpenters, dancers and others who share his obsession. Of course the books is at its best when Finnegan brings us along on his most memorable rides, lovingly explaining what drove him to obscure locations, risking injury and life trying to find a perfect wave break.
This is a fun read for anyone who wishes they had taken time to travel the world in pursuit of a passion. Or for anyone who thinks they might still like to.