Visit Sunny Chernobyl

Visit Sunny Chernobyl


For most of us, traveling means visiting the most beautiful places on Earth--Paris, the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon. It's rare to book a plane ticket to visit the lifeless moonscape of Canada's oil sand strip mines, or to seek out the Chinese city of Linfen, legendary as the most polluted in the world. But in Visit Sunny Chernobyl, Andrew Blackwell embraces a different kind of travel, taking a jaunt through the most gruesomely polluted places on Earth.

From the hidden bars and convenience stores of a radioactive wilderness to the sacred but reeking waters of India, Visit Sunny Chernobyl fuses immersive first-person reporting with satire and analysis, making the case that it's time to start appreciating our planet as it is--not as we wish it would be. Irreverent and reflective, the book is a love letter to our biosphere's most tainted, most degraded ecosystems, and a measured consideration of what they mean for us. 

Equal parts travelogue, expose, environmental memoir, and faux guidebook, Blackwell careens through a rogue's gallery of environmental disaster areas in search of the worst the world has to offer--and approaches a deeper understanding of what's really happening to our planet in the process.  (Summary and cover courtesy of

Please note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review courtesy of the publisher.


As someone who was at one point planning to try to visit Chernobyl (yes, really) I was quite intrigued by this book.  Though there were aspects of the book that I found funny or poignant, there were many that I found that dragged on a bit.  I think what Blackwell lacks is something to unify the chapters under one over-arching theme.  I could tell there were some attempts at this, but mostly they missed (or were lost on me). 

That being said the stories were quite interesting and were certainly unique perspectives of different places in the world.  I really enjoyed the first few chapters, but then it seemed to lose steam.  Or perhaps the author lost interest as he had been dumped at the same point.  Either way, the book started off at a 4-4.5 in Chernobyl and steadily lost my interest for the remainder of the book.  Still interesting and worth a read – at least for the chapters that catch your interest.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Environmental interests of people who don’t think pollution is much of a problem.