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Kregg P. J. Jorgenson’s Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Passing Through
Review by Elena Goukassian

Posted November 29, 2007


           Kregg P. J. Jorgenson, local writer and frequent contributor to European Weekly, recently published a travel guide of sorts. Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Passing Through is a collection of wacky stories about traveling in Europe. Mr. Jorgenson’s witty observations serve as more of a commentary on being an American tourist in Europe rather than as a “how-to” travel guide, as he calls them.

            Mr. Jorgenson starts the book with a disclaimer, stating that his purpose is not to tell people where to go and where to eat, but, instead, to condense the overall experience of his travels into numerous short stories with a sprinkling of ridiculous poems. The stories themselves, though a little over-the-top at times, are all-in-all entertaining, and some even educational.

            For Whom the Bull Tolls, for example, describes the author’s perception of Paris to that of Ernest Hemingway. The discussion goes off on a tangent in order for Mr. Jorgenson to describe how he first came upon Hemingway--while a soldier in Vietnam. This lighthearted story flows very well. Mr. Jorgenson's portrayal of Paris is also very funny and accurate. He says that it is like going home again: “You can always find someone there who will yell, sneer and swear at you or question your taste [...] It’s possible they may criticize what you’re wearing, what you’re not wearing or give you their spirited opinions on religion, politics, and the latest happenings on CSI Las Vegas!” Ah, Paris.

            One of the book’s more absurd stories, Copenhagen’s Erotica Museum, is based on people’s reactions to the famous landmark. It is particularly enjoyable to read about old ladies comparing a decorated phallus to a tea set and saying, “It’s enough to make me want to knit another tea cozy...”

            All silliness aside, Mr. Jorgenson succeeds in inserting, here and there, interesting historical facts, like how Caesar got his name, who the real Shakespeare may or may not have been, and words we acquired from the Vikings. (The serious historical parts are, in fact, a good break from the copious amounts of puns Mr. Jorgenson seems to be so enamored with.)

            All in all, Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Passing Through is a quick and enjoyable read, although you will probably find yourself rolling your eyes at some of the characters in the stories. Mr. Jorgenson delivers a narrative that makes fun of tourists, guidebooks, and Europeans all at the same time, and yet when you finish reading it, you really want to go everywhere he has just described.

The book is available on-line at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and other dealers .


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