Reviews

McKay Memoir Paints Portrait of Reluctant Star – Honolulu Advertiser

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2009/Dec/13/il/hawaii912130314.html

AMAZON REVIEWS:

3.0 out of 5 stars: LOVED Gardner McKay in Adventures in Paradise series on TV
By Mary Ruth Kozmaon August 6, 2015
Not as clearly written as if he had lived long enough to put into his own words what some of his shorter notes were.. his wife put it together after his death and didn’t want to change any of ‘his’ real words for the book.. so I respect that.
LOVED Gardner McKay in Adventures in Paradise series on TV..
I own Toyer, but have not read it yet…
and just finished the Kinsman… left a review on that book.. loved it!
5.0 out of 5 stars ... and he is very honest about his life its like talking to a withered old sailor whose got no …on May 21, 2015
By ProtoEvan
I’m to young to have watched the show so finding this was a surprise and he is very honest about his life its like talking to a withered old sailor whose got no time left for beating around the bush so he doesn’t he tells you his life story and reading that path helps me to decide my own future from a anthropological stand point I’m very impressed by him and aspire to live a bit of that life
5.0 out of 5 stars:  Sublime!… April 30, 2015
By Shopper
I wanted this book to never end – alas, it did, as did the life of this multitalented, cerebral man with the beautiful exterior.
He appears to have lived his life exactly as he wished. I always adored Gardner McKay’s extraordinary handsomeness, but what I took from this memoir (from journals he had kept throughout his life), was tremendous heart that I, too, could lead the life I wanted. He was brave to the end.
5.0 out of 5 stars: What a Marvelous Man and Life…March 15, 2015
By Colonel 1
Gardner McKay was always an outsider and a rebel with extraordinary gifts of courage, creativity including the mastery of words that enables him to distillate major events to a single paragraph! At an early age his mother made clear to McKay and his older brother that they weren’t wanted or loved. She had tried to abort Gardner through horseback riding and other vigorous activities during the pregnancy. The McKay family had good bones, his hand picked adopted uncle was Vincent Price. Gardner learned to sail as a young boy on Long Island Sound. At sea under sail remained one of the few environments in which he felt he belonged for his entire life. His life was one of serendipity and amazing adventures; amobile in the Museum of Modern Art, modeling with Suzy Parker for Richard Avedon in Paris, being on the Ile de France when it rescued the survivors of the Andrea a Doria and the pleasure of being called a liar by John Wayne. After 100 episodes of Aventures in Paradise he walked away leaving Hollywood for sailing and the jungles of Suriname, Venezula, and Brazil. He spent a year and one half in the jungles alone except for a few Indian guides. In this place of physical deprivation he was most happy and most at home. He bought Myrna Loys house in Beverly Hills and stocked it with his pet cheetah and two lions. McKay was incapable of love until he met Madeline, a true gift. I had to ration myself while reading this marvelous autobiograhy. It is written as a series of vignettes, some only a paragraph long, none more than few pages.
The pages fly by….at the end you only regret that you did not have a chance to meet Gardner McKay!
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars… January 2, 2015
By John Gordon (Alabama, United States) -
GOOD BOOK!
5.0 out of 5 stars A book like no other …, November 12, 2014
By Aanel Victoria
Gardner McKay lived the life of an artist and adventurer, and never accepted “normalcy” as the way things had to be. He got trapped in accidental fame in his late 20s, for all the wrong reasons, and hated that, but managed to slip through society’s cracks and regain his sense of self and self-worth.
This book resounds with the soul of an artist and with clear uncompromising creativity. It is unlike any memoir I have ever read, or will probably ever read. It is a breath of fresh air, as if from another dimension.
Do pick up this book if you love the unusual, the talented, the fearlessly creative. You won’t regret it.
4.0 out of 5 stars Journey Without a Map about Gardner McKay’s Life is a Real “Adventure in Paradise”, October 19, 2014

By Cherie
A very interesting life of a very interesting man. For those fans of Gardner McKay (Adventures in Paradise) like myself who wondered whatever happened to Gardner McKay, this book tracks (in his own words) his extremely adventurous life. He proves to be a very good writer as well.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Adventures in Paradise, September 20, 2014

By  DAVID L. KEYS
Six stars. Bravo Gardner McKay for writing Journey without a Map and to his wife Madeleine for getting it published a decade after his death. Journey without a Map is the real Adventures in Paradise. It makes one reflect on how best to live the time one has been given, and want to do better here and now. It is a page-turner from the Prelude’s “…to walk on, that what I was doing was nothing, never enough to swap for my life. But always traveling slowly; never faster than a dog could trot.” all the way through to Finding the Nexus “About the time a man sizes up the situation here on earth and accumulates enough wisdom to be happily serene, he dies.” This book is written beautifully and is a deep look into Gardner McKay’s heart, mind, and soul.

4.0 out of 5 stars:  Good book. Held my attention, July 21, 2014

By Gerald Lewis “kingoplast” (So. Cal.) -
Good book. Held my attention.
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed reading this September 3, 2014

By Brooklyn-Born

I really enjoyed reading this; it recalled listening to Mr. McKay reading his short stories on our local radio station, and I’m disappointed that they haven’t memorialized him by playing those tapes again. He was a talented writer and actor.

 

 

 

 

 

5.0 out of 5 stars an admirable man, August 26, 2014

By Liz Bleier

I first “met” him when he was black and white and about seven inches tall. He sailed into my home each week on a tiny schooner and captured my heart. I was eleven. Life took me on my own journey, and with the invention of the internet, I looked for him. I had never really forgotten the love I had for him. This book filled in all the empty spaces about his life. Maybe not all, but enough. His love of writing glows in these pages. When he writes of his love for his wife, for his animals, it resonates in my own heart. Gardner was a truly unique individual. An admirable man.

5.0 out of 5 stars I found the book entertaining and easy to read, July 23, 2014

By J. J. Farmer

I have just completed reading Gardner McKay’s book “Journey Without A Map”. What an unusual and interesting life he led. Gardner mentioned in the book that his television series “Adventures in Paradise” was aimed at 12 year olds. I was one of those 12 year olds that watched. I remember waiting in anticipation for the next program and watching it with my Dad every Friday night. I had always wondered what happened to the show and to Gardner. When Jimmy Buffet mentioned Gardner in his song “We Are The People Our Parents Warned Us About” my interest in knowing more about Gardner was rekindled. When I found out he had written a memoir of his life, I bought it immediately. I found the book entertaining and easy to read. I like his style of writing as his short chapters are like a compilation of short stories that tell the story of his life. So if you want to know about the free-spirited life and adventures of the star of the television show “Adventures in Paradise”,this book is a must read.

4.0 out of 5 stars Good book. Held my attention, July 21, 2014

By Gerald Lewis

Good book. Held my attention.

5.0 out of 5 stars A journey well written, June 20, 2014

By Ruth Bilodeau

Very well written . Wonderful to read and get to know Gardner McCay for the person he was . Great photos.

5.0 out of 5 stars Life On His Own Terms, June 15, 2014

By Ginny Bauer (Florida)

Adventures In Paradise was a refreshing change from the endless westerns that usually filled our tiny tv screen every night when I was 9. It was my mother who gushed over Captain Troy, but his magnetism was unmistakeable even to a child. I don’t know what possessed me to google Gardner McKay a few weeks ago. I think the romantic theme song came into my head and brought back the memory of the handsome sea captain. Anyway, after watching a few clips of the show on YouTube, I was sad to see he had passed away, but startled to find out what a full and fascinating life he lived after turning his back on the Hollywood machine. His book definitely takes the prize in the “Whatever Happened To…?” category, but it’s an excellent read even if you had never known him as a television character. You’ll be transported with him from the ocean to the Amazon and beyond. My thanks to his beautiful wife and all those who made this book possible. It would make a great movie, but there is no one alive who could do justice to Gardner McKay’s striking good looks…sigh. A sad ending.

4.0 out of 5 stars What Could He Have Achieved, If Only He’d Had a Map?, May 3, 2014

By Daisy1 “scribblerbooks” (Albuquerque, NM United States)

This guy was brilliant. His prose is a little tricky to follow sometimes (I attribute that to his fascination with Dylan Thomas, whom I could never understand either) but he tells a fascinating story.But his life was spent WANDERING. What could he have achieved if he’d had a goal?

For me, the most riveting thing about the book was the painting on the rear cover by his widow, Madeleine. She captures so perfectly what it’s like to watch someone dear to you waste away from an incurable illness. Judging from the talent shown in that painting, I’m surprised Madeleine is not more famous than she is. The painting was breathtaking.

Anyway, I enjoyed the insights in the book. I was a great fan of “Adventures in Paradise” as a kid but Gardner kind of dropped out of sight after that, and it was interesting to learn a little about the rest of his life.

 

4.0 out of 5 stars A True Individualist and Interesting Character, March 24, 2014

 

By Amazon Customer (Canada)

 

Bought the book because I liked the old Adventures in Paradise TV series when I was younger, and because I had read some interesting posts on the web regarding Mr. McKay. Some parts of the book are faster moving and more interesting than others, but overall it is a very good read and gives a clear picture of someone who chose their own course in life, and had great adventures as a result.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Balance of Substance and Style, March 5, 2014

 

By Tom Nocera

 

Gardner McKay is a superb wordsmith. His crowning achievement was written as a love letter to the world he knew he was not long for. His prose approaches poetry with imagery that only a handful of great novelists can rival.

That his life was remarkable by any objective measure is established within a few pages. That Gardner McKay knew exactly how his story needed to be told is also self-evident. I want to thank James W. Buffett for writing the foreword which brought this wonderful work to my attention. Jimmy’s fans will appreciate knowing about the amazing man who Jimmy had the rare privilege to know both as a boyhood hero from TV’s “Adventures in Paradise” and then later in life as his friend. It is written in a fashion for today’s busy reader who has time for just a snippet…however, be cautioned as that snippet leads to another with an addictive seductiveness that melts resistance and reshapes priorities.

This is the best book I’ve read in this millennium and deserves to be made into a great motion picture so more people can discover a better way to approach life – as a journey without a map.

 

4.0 out of 5 stars The title got to me., February 2, 2014

 

By andrew-boston

 

For those of us who remember his performances, it’s interesting to read about his life. For a while, he dropped out and made an epic journey (On foot, I think) in South America.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A surprise package !, January 25, 2014

 

By The Prof. (Australia)

 

What a surprisingly rich package this is ! I stumbled upon this work after the music of the TV series “Adventures in Paradise” drifted inexplicably into my mind whilst I was travelling in Asia. In common with many other people who watched him in the 60′s, I had Gardner pigeon-holed, until I read this. This biography of an immensely talented and sensitive man is candid and deep. It is well crafted and smoothly connected for its first three quarters, but then loses some continuity, reaching its deeply moving climax through a series of sharp but somewhat disjointed vignettes. However, this fragmentation heightens the reality, the rawness, his crisp, cynical humor and the honesty of the story. Gardner was dying of prostate cancer. The last part was completed and reassembled from diaries, by his wife Madeleine. The quote in the prologue catches it perfectly “I don’t want the clutter of dates measuring; I want a rich creamy texture not intentionally obfuscated, but vague, so as to put the narrative into a calmer zone. Let the journalists have their reports. This is not one of them.”

 

5.0 out of 5 stars This is the map …, January 8, 2014

 

By george

 

life as it should be …. if you take the chance … many can few try … we learn too late

 

5.0 out of 5 stars great journey, December 28, 2013

 

By parrothead sd “wolfgang parrot” (Black Hills SD)

 

this is great reading, a illuminating story of the author and the times and places he came from, a journey in print of an era gone by.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A book for the ages, December 9, 2013

 

By P. D. Billings (Okeechobee, Fl)

 

Gardner Mckay sailed into my life when I was 10 and like all the other girls I was completely infatuated, to the point of standing on my bed in the dark to see the TV in the living room. My father would have killed me. Even then I knew there was so much more to the man than the character he played. After reading Journey without a Map, which I could not put down, I realized how right I was.The depth of his character and personality, his sense of humor are really brought out in this book. He was the true adventurer, and did the things that most of us just dream about. His talent is shown through his writing style and the chapters are short and easy reading. I can’t wait to buy his next book.

 

2.0 out of 5 stars He got lost and stayed lost., December 4, 2013

 

By Surf Deep “Surfdeep” (Beach Park, illinois)

 

This book is sort of an expose’ of a rather selfish and self-indulgent character. I had hoped Gardner had more redeeming traits than was revealed. For the Hollywood crown it might be interesting, otherwise a disappointment.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Have some fun and read this book!, November 26, 2013

 

By Barbara Beitz

 

Fabulous storytelling! I read all the reviews before writing mine and many of the writers were far better at expressing their thoughts than I will be but here goes. Like millions of others I watched Adventures in Paradise as a kid but couldn’t remember any episodes, so when I accidentally came upon the series in DVD format I ordered it. From there I became aware of the memoirs Gardner had written and ordered that as well. What a delightful surprise Journey Without a Map was! I had no idea this man lived such an interesting, independent life. He was so cerebral, loved creating and loved the exercise of writing. And boy did he have experiences to write about! He could have had the easiest life but instead chose to push himself into the most uncomfortable adventures. And his sense of humor in recounting his memories was delightful. Self deprecation is very appealing.
Loved this book, felt I knew the man personally, and was unbelievably sad to know about his death that came too soon. A great loss but his wife, Madeleine, will be publishing more of his work and I will be buying and reading it. Would recommend Journey Without A Map to anyone who enjoys the memories of a guy who lived life on his own terms whether the outcome was good or bad. I especially liked that he admitted to being a womanizer for the early part of his life,thought it was dumb, and then found the love of his life and lived as a happily married man—and in recounting his childhood years he explained the influences that prompted his behaviors. Interesting stuff. Enjoyed this book and hoping all my reader friends will enjoy it also.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Living the Legend, November 26, 2013

 

By Della Van Hise “Quantum Shaman, Eye Scry Publ… (Yucca Valley, CA)

 

This review is from: Journey Without a Map (Paperback)

Once or twice in a lifetime, someone comes along who “shines” – and Garner McKay was clearly such a man. I had only believed that to be true up until the day Journey Without a Map arrived in the mail, and I began to see that everything I had HOPED to be true about him… actually was. Most of the time, we weave fantasies about celebrities – what we would want them to be, how we would imagine their lives might unfold, but rarely do we get a glimpse into the inner sanctum of the person themselves. Journey Without a Map gives us not only a glimpse, but a wondrous travelogue of a life lived without compromise, without regret, without apology.

I found the anecdotes in this book to be raw, poignant, and brutally honest – a rare look at the heart and soul of an extraordinary human being who first influenced my life at the age of 6, when I was in the living room and caught a glance at this handsome and enigmatic “Captain Adam Troy,” from the old television series, ADVENTURES IN PARADISE. I can’t say what it was that so deeply captured my attention, but suffice it to say, I recognized something in this man that transcended the character entirely.

With that said – Journey Without a Map reads like a stunning narrative of the incredible, and gives the reader insights into what can happen when someone makes the decision to walk away from “civilized” society and take the world by the horns. His recounting of watching the Andrea Doria as she sank is somehow stunning in its simplicity – to realize this intrepid traveler was actually THERE at this moment in history. It’s interesting to me as a writer of spiritual books that McKay’s approach to life was so casual, yet so filled with those profound moments one may only recognize in hindsight. He writes in one section of the book about his decision to leave the Hollywood scene:

“It was easy. Oh, how I longed to be a has-been.
“And so it went. I was leaving. I didn’t know where I was going. It didn’t matter, of course. I’d been well underpaid for ‘Paradise’, but, still, I had some money, enough to float me for a while. The movie offers from 20th Century Fox were generous enough and they were exactly what I didn’t want. Stories about fictional men.
“I’m not sure where I got that vain, glorious idea that my life was worth more than a million dollars, but there it was…
“I realized that the only way I’d ever change, would to be CHANGE. That I’d have to snap something in me, nothing else was going to do the snapping. Of course, it might; tragedy’s a great snapper of habits. But you can’t count on tragedy; it’s never there when you want it.”

The ultimate joy of this book is impossible to express – the insights and inspirations are a reminder of what is possible when we let go of the programs and embrace Life in all its mystery, mysticism and in all its possibilities. Gardner McKay is a man who achieved what I personally consider to be one of the greatest tasks any human being faces: instead of just going through the motions like a writer putting words down on paper, McKay BECAME the character on a magnificent adventure, the star in the never-ending Journey Without a Map.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Honesty, October 18, 2013

 

By Mary Brandeberry

 

This review is from: Journey Without a Map (Paperback)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. I found Gardner McKay to be an honest man. He was not afraid to voice his opinion about Hollywood, and was able to turn his back and walk away. He wanted to be remembered, not as an actor, but as a person. He traveled the world, raised various animals. He had several roles through life, that of an artist, sailor, traveler, teacher, and husband. He finally found his true calling as a author, play-writer and sailing.

 

4.0 out of 5 stars Gardner McKay, October 18, 2013

 

By Sandra Gilreath (Bonaire, GA United States)

 

This review is from: Journey Without a Map (Kindle Edition)

I expected Captain Adam Troy and found an individual of enormous talents and energy who did not allow his life to be defined by one TV role. Very fitting that Jimmy Buffett wrote the book’s Forward as Mr. McKay actually lived his life like one of the characters in a Buffett ballad. Thoroughly enjoyed this book.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A JOURNEY WELL WORTH TAKING, October 6, 2013

 

By Jeff Pomerantz

 

This review is from: Journey Without a Map (Kindle Edition)

I have lived with “Journey Without A Map” for over a month and it has been an entirely pleasurable experience. I have tried again and again to put my thoughts about it in order. During this time I have found myself enthusiastically talking to my friends at every opportunity about incidents, passages, realizations from the book–and encouraging them all to READ THIS BOOK! I am not alone. I have read every posted review. It is unanimous: This book deserves to be read. This extraordinary man and his talent deserve to be known–to a far, far greater public.

” Journey ” is a record of a unique odyssey. It is lyrical, captivating, entrancing, humorous, honest, touching, and ultimately deeply moving. And the telling is filled with surprises. I laughed out loud and often. These are the remembrances of an adventurer with the soul of an artist– or perhaps an artist with the soul of an adventurer.Throughout this “journey” , often into “terra incognita”, whether that be Hollywood or the Amazon jungle, there is a constant (though I believe unconscious) “true north” heading, a kind of integrity that permeates the pages. There is also a core of decency and goodness to the man, an abhorrence of falsity. Probably above it all, there is a constant striving in the midst of being very human, to be true to himself, to hear his own music, march to his own drum.
…And Gardner McKay did.

My simple admonition:
READ THIS BOOK !

 

5.0 out of 5 stars He had an internal compass but no map, September 21, 2013

 

By Chris Lewis (CA USA)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

A very interesting person and an intelligent and artistic writing style. His perspective of his time well-described. I started Journey with a vague remembrance of the Adventures in Paradise tv series. What an interesting perspective 50 plus some years later to read Gardner McKay’s take on the whole celebrity mentality of Hollywood (I wonder what he would think of the so-called celebrity mania currently filling the airwaves) and how his future chosen adventures far out shown any fictional episodes of those tv times.

To walk (maybe run) away from a successful though initial acting career to pursue what was could be the most authentic departure from what he had experienced as an actor.

Clearly writing was his vocation even when he was not aware of it as such, he maintained voluminous diaries which served him well in writing this biography. His humor is subtle, nor does he spare himself from that focus but he had a lot to write about and that he did.

To say the man lived his life on his terms is an understatement. His respect and appreciation for animals (even those whose life he took) and for the love of his life, his wife, also spoke volumes. And reflecting on those and on dying (we are all terminal), we can see how much the man had to say and how well he said it.

 

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating journey, September 13, 2013

 

By GinnyLou

 

This review is from: Journey Without a Map (Kindle Edition)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its journal approach which enabled me to read at my leisure..like an evening spent with a fascinating friend. Mr. McKay takes us on his adventure and he did us all a favor in writing about it. I remember Adventure in Paradise and would have to say it created a desire to go to Hawaii and later, I also enjoyed Seamarks scarcely believing that it was the same Gardner Mckay. Thanks to his wife for sharing.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Journey Without a Map, August 13, 2013

 

By Val Cureton

 

This review is from: Journey Without a Map (Paperback)

Very much enjoyed this book about Gardner McKay’s own Adventures. Never saw the show Adventures in Paradise but after reading this book the show could not have been more full and adventurous as Mr. McKay’s real life. A great story, very well written and poetic! I would recommend this to anyone!

 

5.0 out of 5 stars This memoir is a rare find., June 22, 2013

 

By Wyoming Cowboy

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

I have always been a big fan of Gardener McKay and this book gives the reader a chance to truly get to know him. What an amazing person he was, not at all what you would expect. He wrote his memoir in a way that lets you get inside his head and get to know him in a very personal way. He holds nothing back about his amazing life.

 

4.0 out of 5 stars You need to be into Gardner McKay, but…, June 14, 2013

 

By Mark Magers

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

I enjoyed the book. It is written in very short chapters, each about a specific thought or topic or time in his life, so you can pick up and put down, (or not) as you want. I admit I kept wondering who took all those photos throughout his life in all these situations – kind of like he was planning to do this. My point is that if I tried to do this for my life, (and you, sir, are no Gardner McKay!), I would be pretty skinny on pictures!

The variety of experiences is pretty amazing. That he knew and was connected with so many famous people (while he says he basically eschews fame) is kind of amazing. Not just as a TV star in Hollywood with built in “:famous people”, but having Vincent Price and Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) as “uncles” as a little kid.

I read another review that said “put on the soundtrack to Adventures in Paradise and read away”, and I think that is great advice.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting life, June 9, 2013

 

By Richard Cinaglia

 

This review is from: Journey Without a Map (Paperback)

I watched Gardner Mc Kay on Adventures in Paradise in 59-62 as Adam Troy .Reading this book reveals so much more about this extraordinary man and his search for things beyond the material world. Mr. mcKay takes uo thru various times in his life with his unique writing style and his journey into South America after leaving Hollywood behind is fascinating and far more adventurous that the that portrayed on his television show.

Gardner was an extraordinarily handsome man who could have been a huge star but instead chose to leave Hollywood behind to embark on a life that was far more realistic to him. He turned down a chance to star with Marilyn Monroe who wanted him to plat next to her to pursue the life he wanted.He never expresses any regrets about his choices, and never did understand what he brought to millions of viewers each week as the Captain of a charter schooner in the South Pacific but his book is so much more that it brings many levels of self discovery which also serves as an inspiration to any independent thinkers.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars This was a man!, June 5, 2013

 

By colby chester “free range photographer” (Seattle, WA. USA)

 

This review is from: Journey Without a Map (Paperback)

I read it first when it was published in 2009. By then, I’d known Gardner as a friend, mourned his passing as an admirer and beneficiary of his treasured attention. Now I have read it again, this time with even more appreciation of the mind and spirit behind the words. Like so many, I “met” Gardner McKay through the television series. He was Adam Troy, bigger than life, more magnificent than a god, impossibly elusive. When I met him in person more than 40 years later, it took me a while to accept his presence and friendship. And then came the gifts–his writing, his attention.
You may be a voracious reader, but you will likely never experience a journey to match this Journey, with or without a map. Candid, hilarious, remarkably innocent and equally rich with wisdom, this memoir is epic. You will wish, as I do now, then and always, that you could spend a moment, just one tiny moment, in the spell of this man who would say of his life, “…Whatever I did, wherever I went, however amusing, exciting, successful or not, however famous I became, I always had a grinding boredom, an agitation, a need to do something else, to walk on, that I was doing nothing, never enough to swap for my life. But always traveling slowly; never faster than a dog can trot.”

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Still remarkable – with more pictures!, June 4, 2013

 

By Richard Fullerton (Winston-Salem, NC)

 

This review is from: Journey Without a Map (Paperback)

I read the first publication of this remarkable work in 2009, and inasmuch as the text of this version has not changed, with the exception of a new introduction by Jimmy Buffett, this a direct quote of my original review:

Before I was a hundred pages into “Journey Without a Map”, I e-mailed an old friend and told him he needed to read the book. “His prose is so poetic it borders on free verse, you won’t believe some of the stuff he did – it’s as compelling as anything I’ve ever read.”

I also reasoned that my friend, an actor of considerable talent and experience who turned his back on his profession in disgust almost 20 years ago to write, would find a great deal of common ground within the pages – though I doubt seriously that he has ever walked across the Venezuelan jungle, and suspect he couldn’t find the island of Bermuda in a sailboat if he started a hundred yards offshore with a strong tailwind.

But while I was tucked away in a prep school during its years on the air, and was only vaguely aware of “Adventures in Paradise” and Gardner McKay – my friend, several years my senior, was, I suspect, as bombarded by it as the rest of the United States at the time.

I don’t intend to check with him to see if this is true, because I’m not about to change theories in mid-review for something as trifling as accuracy. I DO know, that he has not as yet purchased the book, and can only conclude that he has ignored my advice because of the very attitude that plagued McKay from the moment he abandoned his acting career. As he says: “The crime of starring in Hollywood will taint me for the rest of my life.”

It taints him still, eight years after his death. I am, apparently, one of the few of my generation in America who, to my best recall, had never seen more than a few minutes of his screen persona when I picked up his play “Sea Marks” in the early 70′s, so I went in cold. I read it cover to cover in one sitting, and then I went back and read the male character again, aloud, so I could hear it as well. There has never, from that day to this, been the slightest doubt in my mind that Gardner McKay was a writer of extraordinary lyricism, wit and craft, with a profound understanding of the human condition. This autobiography makes it clear that he had an unflinchingly candid grasp of himself, as well.

Read this. You owe it to yourself. Then go to the French catalogue and order his plays. Find his short stories, his insightful and literate theatre reviews. Read them, too. You don’t have to thank me. Gloating is its own reward…

You won’t BELIEVE some of the stuff he DID!

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Renewing my regard for “journey Without a Map” in the new edition, June 4, 2013

 

By Bob Zaugh

 

This review is from: Journey Without a Map (Paperback)

When the words of Gardner McKay wash over you , like one of the many waves that he sailed through in treacherous conditions, I doubt you will be the same. There is a lyricism that he passes along that washes over the soul and imbeds itself in such a way that I want to think differently, write differently, speak differently. That is a true rarity in literature, at least for me. I was so profoundly affected by this book and the stories in it that I continue to buy copies online and send copies to my friends.
Here I am, an ex Eagle Scout who would probably die within hours if I was locked out of my Nissan hybrid, reading myself into the Rainforest with Gardner McKay, who pretty much only carries only his watch from his previous life. And finally it breaks. If you sit with these words you may have the chance to step away from long entrenched patterns and consider things anew.
This is a truly great book. Get one, then get another for a friend.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Hero’s Journey, June 3, 2013

 

By Dura Temple Curry “Dura Curry” (Bainbridge Island, WA)

 

This review is from: Journey Without a Map (Paperback)

“Journey Without a Map” is truly the journey of a lifetime. The reader is privileged to share in the adventures of a rare and talented man. He was an intellectual without being stuffy, a critic whose comments inspired rather than crushed the spirit of the one receiving the criticism, and a writer of enormous talent. In this book, Gardner reveals compelling details about the great adventure that was his life. It is a remarkable book that continues to inspire long after being read. I highly recommend it to anyone who aspires to discover just how rich life can be.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Journey, April 2, 2013

 

By KEVIN M MCINERNEY (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

I am enjoying this book immensely and looking forward to reading about McKay’s epic, adveturous experiences in the South Pacific!

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Conversations with Gardner, December 24, 2012

 

By chauncey carter (naalehu, HI United States)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

I met Gardner in 1990. We frequented the same coffee shop in Kailua where he lived. I knew who he was from his television show which I’d watched as a kid, and I knew he’d begun residing in Kailua where I’d been living since 1958. He would come striding in wearing a Hemingway style cap and carrying a copy of The New York Times. He was friendly and cordial, and though he seemed content to read while he sipped his cappucino, he often spoke with others.

At the time, I was making art objects out of trash and exhibiting some bottle-cap designs I thought were clever and made an environmental statement. I also had started writing aphorisms and I’d put together a small book featuring some of them. I didn’t know at the time that Gardner was a writer or that he’d been a sculptor, but I knew he was no fool and someone of stature and I wanted to get his opinion of my work. He had an office in a nearby mall so I decided to drop in on him. His office was upstairs with other glass-walled offices and I could see him working at his computer. The door was open and I stood in the doorway. He looked up and said, “Yes?”, and I proffered one of my bottle-cap designs, a turtle, and he was immediately taken with it and what it represented, but he was still mystified and asked, “Who do you think I am?”. I don’t recall what I said at that point, but I handed him a copy of my aphorisms and again he was impressed because he’d been writing down his own sayings. He said Jimmy Buffet had dubbed them, “Codgerisms”.

From then on on we’d share a table at the coffee shop and over the next two years he told me about his life as a sculptor in New York and as a playwright, how at the moment he was struggling to write a screenplay of Toyer, and most of the other interesting episodes of his remarkable life. We talked about movies and television, and he had an idea for a TV show wherein he’d play an old ship’s captain living in his beached, derelict schooner. His one word description of the Adventure in Paradise series was “unwatchable”, and he may have wanted to bring back Adam Troy as a more interesting, believable character. I told him I knew Alan Burns, the co-creator of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (his niece had introduced me), and Gardner asked me to get in touch with him so he could pitch the idea. Nothing came of it, I’m sorry to say.

Two of my favorite Gardner quotes are, “I don’t think I’ll ever be old enough to play golf”, and “Fast food should never be eaten slowly”.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing life’s journey, November 21, 2012

 

By Charlotte T (Watsonville, CA United States)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

As a teenager I loved Adventures in Paradise. Gardner McKay’s story provides insight into the thinking of this
down to earth, thoughtful and multi-talented man. His life was so much more of an adventure than the TV program.
I enjoyed the book.

 

4.0 out of 5 stars An Unusual Man, November 21, 2012

 

By N J Carol “njcarol_2000″ (New Jersey)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Back in the 1960′s, I was IN LOVE with Gardner McKay and with his TV show, “Adventures in Paradise.” In the show, Dashing Captain Adam Troy (McKay) sailed his schooner around French Polynesia. I ordered this book to get a look inside his head. He is decidedly unusual, intelligent, and rather Zen in his approach to life.

Surprisingly, he despised his TV show, considering it juvenile and one-dimensional. He eschewed fame, and instead began a series of real-life adventures that included exploring the world and the jungle. McKay was an actual sailor, as well.

The book is episodic and interesting. McKay’s writing style is a bit unusual, including sentence fragments and bits of thought. His approach to all of his adventures seems a bit unemotional, and that is why I gave it only four stars. I think I expected a more enthusiastic recounting of McKay’s journeys…after all, he WAS an adventurer on TV. However, I guess that is what his stories try to discount. Yet, he trekked all over the world – living with little luxury and a great deal of risk.

Because of the book’s episodic nature, it is easy to read and then to put down if need be. I enjoyed it, yet was disappointed (Mainly in myself for having preconceived notions). I will admit, I took a trip to Tahiti a few years ago…and I blame ADAM TROY!

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Journey Without A Map, November 8, 2012

 

By Ron Z (Atlantic City, N.J. USA)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Publishers categorize this as a “generational piece,” a term for a book that appeals to a group of individuals with contemporaneous cultural and/or social experiences. Yeah, big words. But I think it means Us.

“Us” are the folks before color tv who enjoyed “Adventures In Paradise” on black and white screens. “Us” are the viewers who loved Adam Troy and remained mesmerized by the theme music until the very last credit. And that last credit was…A Martin Manulis Production. It finalized the show, leaving one hundred and sixty-seven hours before I could once again escape New York’s dismal school system. In fact, “when I think back on all the crap I learned in high school it’s a wonder I can think at all.” (From Kodachrome, The Essential Paul Simon. Also, Paul Simon: Live In New York City [Blu-ray]).

Suffice it to say that this book is like therapy. While “Adventures In Paradise” took us away, “Journey” does the opposite. It returns us to reality. Especially if you were a fan of the show you will find the trip back worth your time and money.

This is the saga of Gardner McKay–not Adam Troy–who shelved a successful show business career in pursuit of the lone human being within. Never again to appear on the screen, was he blacklisted? Maybe. The book remains mum. It’s all quiet on the western coast in that regard.

I, personally, would have appreciated more details in what I consider to be pertinent areas; I find sporadic indications of info being cut. However, “Journey,” for the most part, is a reading adventure that does not disappoint. I’d give it 4.5 stars on Amazon’s scale, but halves don’t exist so I’m going with the throng.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Journey Without A Map by Gardner Mckay, July 25, 2012

 

By Rich F.

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

I found this to be a very absorbing & interesting book on the life of Gardner McKay who was definitely his own man & a free thinker. He led a colorful life. Thanks to his wife Madeleine for getting this book & Gardner’s other works published. Highly recommended reading .

 

5.0 out of 5 stars ”Wrong Envelope” a little mystery to figure out in this book, September 3, 2011

 

By Elise (Indiana)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Mckay mentions a book called “The Wrong Envelope” that he discovers written about him quite by accident while browsing in a bookstore.”The character was called Hamish and he had an Edwardian moustache.Still,it was me.My lions and my house.”
He adds that he wrote to the author and half expected him to send him a copy.The author sent books back to him but no “Wrong Envelope”.
For those whose curiosity was piqued by the anecdote of the book that “he never saw again”, I believe I have found it– long out of print but newly released.It is titled “The Lost Lions” by Edward Gorey.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars a journey not to be missed, 21 Oct 2009

 

By Joshua Bryant (Haute Vienne, France)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Gardner McKay was a man without equal in many ways. Anyone who ever worked with him as an actor or read any of his work as a writer or heard any of his “Stories on the Wind” series on Hawaii Public Radio knows that already. But to read fascinating, pertinent parts of his life of adventure and creativity (not to mention romance), in his own words, set down in what were to be his last days, is its own kind of peak experience. It will stay with you for a long time. I can’t recommend it too highly.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars What a Journey!, 15 Dec 2009

 

By Mr. Terence Madigan (Dublin’Ireland)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Journey Without a Map, memoirs of Hollywood actor, playwright, author and sportsman Gardner McKay, charts the course of a varied and fascinating life. Written by the author in the form of notebooks and journals and completed by his wife Madeleine after his death in 2002, this book will be warmly welcomed by a wide range of readers and especially by Gardner’s extensive circle of family and friends.
Many aspects of the author’s personal and professional life are evoked through a series of succinct, well-crafted chapters, each providing a snapshot of Gardner at various stages of his life. We learn of his early years in Paris, his memories of kindergarten and the lasting influence that French style and culture were to have in later life. As a young man, his passion for sailing, travel and adventure are vividly evoked in descriptions of cities visited and oceans traversed. What will hold most appeal for readers, however, is likely to be Gardner’s description of his life in the public eye as actor, writer and socialite. By drawing on his meticulously detailed notebooks, he has given us an insight into a lifestyle which epitomised the glamour and sophistication of Hollywood in the 1950s and 1960s. This was in an era before the modern cult of celebrity had taken hold of public imagination and it is refreshing to share the memories of an actor who rubbed shoulders with the likes of Omar Sharif and Vincent Price.
If Gardner’s life in the spotlight is epitomised by his photograph on the cover of Life magazine (reproduced here on p. 171), then other photographs in the book portray a more thoughtful, contemplative side of his personality, an aspect which will resonate deeply with family and friends. An affinity with nature and love of animals comes across strongly in images and descriptions of pets both commonplace and exotic, many of whose names reflect his strong sense of humour and fun.
Of all the emotions which come across in this book, the most enduring image is of a man who loved his wife Madeleine, the companion to whom he fittingly bequeathed the task of completing his memoirs. That she discharged this labour of love with such sensitivity and integrity is a fitting testament to Gardner’s life not only as actor and writer but as husband and cherished friend.

 

October 17, 2009

 

By MadameX “scribe3″ (Louisville, KY United States)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

According to Gardner McKay, his fans from Adventures in Paradise were responding to a cartoon character. Maybe, maybe not. It seems to me that Gardner McKay always had an indefinable presence that went far beyond the role he played in Adventures in Paradise. And to my way of thinking, this magnetic presence was mainly what people were responding to when they watched Adventures in Paradise. Journey Without a Map attests to this presence and the depth of his spirit. Told with humor & blatant honesty, we find out exactly what he thought about his father, mother, brother, Hollywood, people in Hollywood and some politicians. I particularly liked his descriptions of meeting Frank Sinatra, Richard Nixon and John Wayne. His travels and real life adventures in the jungle are told in detail, again in a straightforward way. There is never any sense that he wants to impress in the telling of his experience in the jungle but that he was simply fulfilling what he truly wanted to do. The pictures selected are also straightforward and in black & white. It’s like he’s saying, here I am, here’s the real me, take it or leave it. His rapport with nature and animals is exceptional and his insight into people is rare. My assessment after reading this book is that Gardner McKay was in touch with the truest part of himself and this part is beautiful. After digesting the initial shock of such honesty, I found myself thinking about things he said and the way he saw life. The book is nearly 500 pages long but written in short story form on different topics so you can pick and choose the ones you want to read first.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Journey into an Author, November 5, 2009

 

By Richard Fullerton (Winston-Salem, NC)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Before I was a hundred pages into “Journey Without a Map”, I e-mailed an old friend and told him he needed to read the book. “His prose is so poetic it borders on free verse, you won’t believe some of the stuff he did – it’s as compelling as anything I’ve ever read.”

I also reasoned that my friend, an actor of considerable talent and experience who turned his back on his profession in disgust almost 20 years ago to write, would find a great deal of common ground within the pages – though I doubt seriously that he has ever walked across the Venezuelan jungle, and suspect he couldn’t find the island of Bermuda in a sailboat if he started a hundred yards offshore with a strong tailwind.

But while I was tucked away in a prep school during its years on the air, and was only vaguely aware of “Adventures in Paradise” and Gardner McKay – my friend, several years my senior, was, I suspect, as bombarded by it as the rest of the United States at the time.

I don’t intend to check with him to see if this is true, because I’m not about to change theories in mid-review for something as trifling as accuracy. I DO know, that he has not as yet purchased the book, and can only conclude that he has ignored my advice because of the very attitude that plagued McKay from the moment he abandoned his acting career. As he says: “The crime of starring in Hollywood will taint me for the rest of my life.”

It taints him still, eight years after his death. I am, apparently, one of the few of my generation in America who, to my best recall, had never seen more than a few minutes of his screen persona when I picked up his play “Sea Marks” in the early 70′s, so I went in cold. I read it cover to cover in one sitting, and then I went back and read the male character again, aloud, so I could hear it as well. There has never, from that day to this, been the slightest doubt in my mind that Gardner McKay was a writer of extraordinary lyricism, wit and craft, with a profound understanding of the human condition. This autobiography makes it clear that he had an unflinchingly candid grasp of himself, as well.

Read this. You owe it to yourself. Then go to the French catalogue and order his plays. Find his short stories, his insightful and literate theatre reviews. Read them, too. You don’t have to thank me. Gloating is its own reward…

You won’t BELIEVE some of the stuff he DID!

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Journey without a Map, October 23, 2009

 

By Jeffrey C. Hughes (Stratford, CT United States)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Journey Without a Map

When I first saw that ” Journey without a Map ” was being released , it was the author ” Gardner McKay ” that first jumped out at me , could this be the same Gardner McKay of my favorite childhood television series ” Adventures in Paradise ” which ran from 1959 – through 1962 , a quick google search and my query was complete . Sure enough~ here are the memoirs of the man behind many of my childhood dreams . It took only a moment for me to order the book which I awaited with great anticipation . It did not disappoint , It brought to life a man that had not only been a distant memory for me , but a beacon of light in my early years ; but there is so much more to Gardners life and achievements that I did not know and reading these memoirs you become to know the depth and warmth of a man that led a life few of us ever dream of.
Gardner lived a life that I never expected … a life of great artistic skill, a life of travel , adventure , mystery and Love ….he lived way beyond the T.V screen that began so much earlier ~ with Gardners open heart and mind I became enthralled with the memoirs that he has put in words to share with us all .
If you need to take a break in life ~ to stroll down a path , to cruise across an ocean , a glimpse of childhood , or your golden years , take a reflection of your own dreams ~ this is a journey to take . This is a book I will have on my book shelf for years to come , one that I will read whenever I need to take a small journey .
Whether your life is a ” journey without a Map” ; if you sail the smooth seas of life or move through uncharted waters and live by heavens stars ~ if you live close to your rhumb line on a set course and compass, this is a book to read .
And so many thanks to Madeleine McKay in bringing this all together , and who has added the personal thoughts that came during the final part of the journey . We are all so much richer for this book ~~

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Man of the World, October 16, 2009

 

By Ashley S. Dickens “discriminating reader” (North Pekin, Illinois)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

This book contains some of the memoirs of one of the most unique and remarkable individuals ever to grace our modern society. Gardner McKay had an amazing life; a life definitely lived to the fullest. He was a person of great courage, imagination, and intelligence. Many people remember him as an actor, a TV and movie star, but his life was so much more than that. He was dedicated to finding and creating beauty. He had esquisite talents of observation, communication, and possessed a wisdom beyond that of most people. Gardner had a great love of animals and of the natural world. He was able to travel the world during his life and kept journals of his travels and experiences. This book is a collection of his memories of his life, from his earliest experiences traveling to, and living in, France, school days, days spent on the sea, college experiences, and his early artistic endeavors and successes. He was everything from an artist, to athlete, to actor, to adventurer, to author. In short, he was truly an amazing and complex individual who, having lived among us, made the world a more interesting and better place. Many thanks to his lovely wife, Madeleine, for getting his memoirs published and sharing his life with the world.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A Memorable Memoir, January 6, 2010

 

By Barry Cutler (Palm Desert, California USA)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

This lovely and loving memoir is rich with wonderfully warm and funny vignettes of a life well lived. McKay has turned his grand story of exploration and adventure into entertaining tales told with a precision bordering on haiku.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Life… A Great Read, December 17, 2009

 

By Abraxis Spera

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Our own histories are short. Those of you who are paying attention will enjoy McKay’s memoirs… he is a kindred spirit, with a keen awareness of self and society, revealed through his eloquent humor. -L.Spera

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Gardner McKay – A Life Lived to the Fullest, December 16, 2009

 

By R. Mark Wagner (Arlington VA)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Growing up, I always enjoyed stories about adventurers. Whether biographical or fictional, I wanted to read about men who explored unmapped rivers through dangerous jungles inhabited by less-than-friendly people and venomous snakes that could kill with a single bite. I wanted to sail to exotic ports after navigating the open ocean through heavy seas.

Gardner McKay was a man who at a young age turned his back on the conventional and what was, at times, a comfortable existence to do these and other things. Whether is was sailing, exploring remote regions of South America, or navigating the muddy waters of the entertainment world, he remained true to himself and did what he thought was important. Anyone fortunate enough to have heard his “Stories on the Wind” series broadcast on Hawaii Public Radio knows what a powerful imagination he wielded – but even he would have been hard pressed to imagine an adventure more interesting than his own life. By the age of 30 he had probably lived a fuller, more adventurous life than most people who live to be 90.

Taken directly from his many journals, the short, concise chapters of this book speak candidly of his journey through life. An experienced photographer, he had the presence of mind to document his experiences in photographs, and many of these are included in the book.

“Journey Without a Map” offers an intimate look inside the mind of a gifted storyteller who, in his final months of life, shared his own story. Madeleine McKay has done a wonderful job of bringing it all together in this volume, the story of a life lived to the fullest and not one to be missed.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars I love this memoir!, October 21, 2009

 

By Spyridoula Nemesis (Austin, Texas)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Gardy’s story is informative, fun and ultimately enchanting. It’s all there, in the pages of the book, the good and the bad. His life may have been a journey without a map; but this compilation is coherent, well executed and follows an easy to understand course. One feels as though one is on deck in the yachting stories and one feels the pain of the family loss described. For anyone who has ever wanted to interlope on the innermost thoughts of another, read this! It’s engaging, humble and over the top; all at the same time.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Journey, May 29, 2010

 

By Lynn Alsobrook “Ally” (Georgia)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

I happened upon this book, after seeing Gardner McKay’s name, mentioned in an article recently. I was intrigued to discover that he was a writer, so I bought the book.
I was exposed to a piece of literature that was so beautiful, so extraordinary, so profound that I could not stop reading. If you buy this book, you will find yourself on a trip that covers continents so richly described, that you feel as though you are there yourself. Gardner McKay was a very gifted man in many ways, but his passion for life stands out on every page. His sentences are poetry.He was a superb raconteur. He put his heart in this book, along with his love of animals, distaste for some actors, politicians and snobs. He reveals so many of his own emotions, including pain, joy, bewilderment, depression, frustration, but most of all his deep love for his wife, Madeleine.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading. It is not just an autobiography, but a memoir of a life well-lived and richly experienced, a “must read”.

 

4.0 out of 5 stars Gardner McKay, February 15, 2010

 

By Michele Duggan (Australia)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Well what a surprise this book was. I’d read that it was well written and worth the read. I didn’t think it would live up to its reputation, but it has. I couldn’t wait to get back to it each night. Gardner McKay had a rich and full life beyond the small screen as Captain Troy and visits episodes of it in each chapter of this very well written and conceived memoir.

He only briefly touches on the Adventures in Paradise years which made up such a small part of his life (but which made a huge impact on me as a child in the 60′s). The rest of the book tells more about the man he was and wanted to be, from a privileged but damaged childhood to his search for the things that really fulfilled him.

An excellent read.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars My Hero – A Maestro of Words!, January 23, 2010

 

By Mara Cole (Kihei, Maui)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

The saying by Socrates, kept coming to mind:
“The unexamined life is really not worth living”.
Well, Gardner certainly examined his life and lived the fullest life of anyone I’ve ever known!
Incredible that he did all that, and on virtually no money – lots of luck, being in the right place at the right time, being born where he was – just all too amazing. I am recommending the book like crazy, whether people will read it or not is another story, but my sons definitely want to read it, and I hope they learn from it and attack life the way Gardner did.
His adventure into the Amazon was probably his way of initiating himself into manhood like the Africans, Aborigines and other native peoples do when a young boy begins to reach manhood.
He instinctively knew he had to do something and did it. It’s something that is totally missing from the male populus of today’s world.
Despite what he says about Adventures in Paradise, that show appealed to me. I saw
it as an impressionable youngster (age 12 or so)in Australia, and it did inspire me to go island living.
And then his description of his love for Madeleine, their bonding, oneness, and love. Made me cry!
It’s a love we all aspire to that so few ever experience.
An amazing read – I thoroughly enjoyed it. He really knows how to use words, a very gifted, insightful and talented man.
My words here are simple, but please read this book.
Aloha

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Rare combination, March 27, 2010

 

By Jane Donahue (Los Angeles)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Rarely is an explorer also a superb writer. I recommend this book without reservation.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A friend that I miss, December 29, 2009

 

By Thomas Mcfadden

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

I knew Gardner,his lions,a couple of tigers and Kenya his cheetah,stayed at his guest house and ate some great food that Madeleine was so good at putting on the table. I and Johnathan Banks were the resident actors for his writting class a fantastic experience. I’ve had some adventures with Gardner I have been encouraged, mentored, flattered and befriended by this man. Reading Journey Without A Map was an experience that I will have again and again there were so many things that happened to Gardner that I had no idea happened. I feel that I may be one of so many of his friends who are blind and are feeling different parts of the elephant. The same person can be known many ways. I’m still learning from Gardner never took a writting class from Gardner so If you are critiquing my review lighten up.
To say Gardner had a way with words, he knew the flow of letters and words. How words rested on the eyes how eyes could stumble from word to word or flow in a graceful way. He was able to teach this. A master of words has put in words some of his expericences leaving me wanting to know even more,but we’ll have to wait for the Book Of Life to be read, that will be a video when the rest of us die. There are unplubished novels of Gardners that I hope to read one day. A copy of Sea Marks was given to me by Gardner I treasure it. To read Journey Without a Map is a great journey If you knew of this man or not it’s kind of what reading is about.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A Five-Star True Adventure in Paradise!, December 19, 2009

 

By C. Scott Harrison

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

As you can see, every reviewer here has given this fascinating “memoir” five big stars. I suppose it is because every one found some secret life’s desire unfulfilled that Mr. McKay managed to fulfill and write eloquently about. To live several liftimes… lifetimes that matter…involves one of mankind’s keenest strivings.

An actor, if you are old enough to remember “Adventures in Paradise”, yes… but an actor in the best and most human sense on life’s broadest stage. Also a sculptor, photographer, world-traveler and lover of people and animals, this memoir, “Journey Without a Map” should inspire all of us to live and love our lives to the fullest. Wonderfully well-written, with many astounding photographs, this is an important book(in a time when important books are consigned to late-night reviews on Public Television or the pages of esoteric journals), this is my favorite book of the year. May it remain in print forever!
Rev. Scott Harrison

 

5.0 out of 5 stars What a life, without Compromise!, November 25, 2009

 

By Christopher Law

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

His writing was more profound than his acting, exactly as he would have wanted. “Sea Marks” is a wonderful play, Very funny and tragic! Then again that’s the Irish way :-) I loved saying those words, all summer long, in Cambria, California 1984.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars You Will be Swept Away From Word One!, February 15, 2011

 

By Bob Zaugh

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

When the words of Gardner McKay wash over you , like one of the many waves that he sailed through in treacherous conditions, I doubt you will be the same. There is a lyricism that he passes along that washes over the soul and imbeds itself in such a way that I want to think differently, write differently, speak differently. That is a true rarity in literature, at least for me. I was so profoundly affected by this book and the stories in it that I continue to buy copies online and send copies to my friends.
Here I am, an ex Eagle Scout who would probably die within hours if I was locked out of my Nissan hybrid, reading myself into the Rainforest with Gardner McKay, who pretty much only carries only his watch from his previous life. And finally it breaks. If you sit with these words you may have the chance to step away from long entrenched patterns and consider things anew.
This is a truly great book. Get one, then get another for a friend.

 

4.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Life, August 20, 2010

 

By Dianne Winter Brookins (Kaneohe, HI USA)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Gardner McKay truly lived his life. His adventures were varied; his voice authentic. Through this book, we come to know a man whose depth and character were overshadowed by his movie-star good looks. The world knows the actor, the “voice on the wind.” This book introduces us to the man. I highly recommend it.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars I’m throwing my maps away, July 24, 2010

 

By Martin Patrick

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

This is one of the better reads I’ve had in a long time. It was a thorough delight to hear Mr. Mckay recount his extraordinary life told with humor, insight, poignancy, complete honesty, and with the absolute beauty of his poetic prose. I found myself laughing out loud in some places and then also feeling tinges of the melancholly that seemed to follow Mr. Mckay around in his life. His life often reads like some kind of idealized account of a romantic dreamer, world traveller, devil may care adventurer, jet-setting, womanizng movie star and yet he always brings it back to reality with his straightforward storytelling. This memoir will only add to his legend and his writing only adds to an already fine body of work. If his life was a Journey Without A Map then this book serves as a kind of roadmap and inspiration for living one’s life fully, trusting in yourself, and following your passions, instincts, loves, and interests. Thanks Gardner! Sláinte. God Bless.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey Now Mapped, July 21, 2010

 

By DiamondJag (Brighton, Co. USA)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

For some reason still not fully understood, one of my favorite TV shows as a kid was “Adventures in Paradise”. It still puzzles me why a kid of 12 would want to see a black and white adult drama set in the South Pacific. And even though it came on at bedtime and I wasn’t allowed to watch it very often, the show stuck in my memory throughout the years. A few years ago I was able to find a copy of all of the episodes of the show on DVD. That led to a renewed interest in the show’s star, Gardner McKay.

If there was ever a star that fit a part perfectly it was Gardner McKay. Tall, handsome, and in real life a highly accomplished sailor. But what I was to find out was that the TV series was no more than a short footnote in an otherwise extraordinary life, a footnote that Mr. McKay seemed to spend the rest of his life trying to escape.

Journey Without a Map is an unusual and fascinating read, partly because of the unusual life and partly because of the unusual writing style. The book is appropriately called a memoir and not a biography. These are the memories of Gardner McKay. As he says in the Prelude, “I am sitting down alone in a room with the truth, taking dictation from my past. It is not creative writing, it is the tipping and pouring of a pitcher, little more”. But it is much more, a fascinating account of a man trying to escape… Hollywood, his mother, fame, but never did you have the feeling that he was trying to escape himself. Rather, he was seeking, and that journey led to a fascinating life and a fascinating book. Gardner McKay went where his spirit called, the journey without a map, apparently never really feeling content until he met Madeleine.

The writing is unusual, refreshing, and totally honest, with a depth of insight into life and the human condition that you sometime just had to sit and ponder after reading the words. The book is also liberally scattered with pictures from all periods of Gardner’s life, from childhood, to Hollywood, to the Amazon, back to LA, to his last days.

I had bought “Journey Without a Map” right after it come out but held off reading it until I got on a sailboat off the islands of Tahiti and Moorea in French Polynesia. It just seemed appropriate.

Actor, novelist, sculptor, playwright, adventurer, critic, animal lover, Gardner McKay was an extraordinary person and Journey Without a Map is an extraordinary book.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, April 2, 2010

 

By Timothy F. Carey (New York)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

I came to know of Gardner McKay from seeing him in Adventures in Paradise…….a favorite television program of mine. When I heard his memoirs were published I knew I had to read them. I enjoyed every bit of this book. Reading it was a wonderful way to find out who Gardner McKay really was. A talented artist, an accomplished sailor, a truly unique individual who has garnered my admiration. I wish I had known him. Read this book……it’s terrific.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A Lion Can Roar, February 20, 2010

 

By Pit O’Maley “Moon Man” (Alameda, Ca United States)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

In all these four decades the words Adonis or “handsome” always conjured Gardner McKay to me, because everyday I would come home from school to see the “Adventures in Paradise” with his calm confidence at the helm of the Tiki and its ever-changing cast of film stars which I found engrossing living within breathing distance of the S.F. Bay and pacific ocean waters. When it went off the air, Gardner vanished, it seemed, until his “Toyer” was penned in the mid-90′s. For me, his short-lived TV life launched my imagination and I never forgot him. After reading his “Journey..” I wept. His literary talent has an authenticity and grace surpassing his 91-episode closeups.It was gratifying to find out that he ventured beyond Hollywood in journeys more incredible than Hitchcock could devise. And it only whets my appetite for more of his work, the final testimony to his value. Yes, Gardner threw off the chains of Hollywood for the most part returning to live in artistic seclusion, a victory of his art. Like Errol Flynn, he was an experienced explorer/sailor pre-Hollywood and catnip to the ladies but he had the gypsy sense to follow his muse and hold that as his north star til the end. Those in tinsletown who dismissed his literary offerings or stole from him will be surprised to see his works rise in popularity. Like his own lions lazing in the sun on his spacious grounds in captivity, he kept the worst trappings of Hollywood beyond his gates enough to write his own lines to his standards. More than he will know, some of his admirers followed his kind of muse in their own adventures. We are the children he regretted not having, catching the same winds to our own adventures.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, lyrical and poignant, March 1, 2011

 

By Travis McGee

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Far exceeded my expectations. I wish I had known the man, and I suppose I do now. A beautiful life deeply and richly lived, without riches and not wanting fame. And with a strong flavor of sadness, of not living up to…something. A deeply touching memoir, highly recommended.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing life, August 28, 2010

 

By Duane A. White (Kirkland, WA USA)

 

This review is from: Journey Without A Map (Paperback)

Gardner McKay was an amazing person who trekked across the world to the beat of his own drummer. It took his wife several years to get this fascinating account of his wanderings and observations published but it was worth the wait.
Not a standard auto biography with names and dates, but a very impressionistic rendering of what he saw and felt. It leaves the reader with many questions but the feeling that Gardner felt the answers were none of your business.

I wish more of his novels had been published.

One thought on “Reviews

  1. Hello Madeleine,
    I have been through health issues this year, due to a car accident. I’m well enough to do most things but miss my gardening. You mentioned that you were putting together more of your husband’s works, short stories I believe. I saw nothing new, but I hope that means that you are painting again, Best Wishes, Lynn

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