• Book Reviews

Review: Adventures of 2 Girls by Ning Cai and Pamela Ho

Reviewer: Adey Tan

A heart-warming, humorous and inspiring story about friendship, chasing dreams, taking risks and letting go.

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Let’s be real here. We’re human. The first thing that draws us all in about the summary of Adventures of 2 Girls isn’t this sweet one-liner at the end, or the list of pretty places Ning and Pamela went to. It’s the sentence that says “two best friends who take a nine-month break from their successful careers… to travel the world”.

We plebeians would pick the book off the shelf, raise our eyebrows and proceed to whisper to ourselves: “Who are these mad girls? Where did they get the money to do that? And why would anyone in their right mind run off from their job for nine months to cook (and burn) pastries at Le Cordon Bleu?”

Indeed. Not everyone has the time, resources or luxury to send off an email to the boss and hop on the next flight to Honolulu to satisfy their wanderlust. So instead we can settle for the next best thing: sitting on our comfortable couches at home and sipping tea while reading the book.

And in fact, that’s not a very bad deal at all. Adventures of 2 Girls takes its readers on a stunning yet intrinsically real voyage across our Earth as we know it. It’s funny. It’s relatable, because human nature is the same everywhere even though circumstances are always different. It’s chock-full of the kind of stories you tell your grandchildren when you’re old. From the good, to the hilariously bad, to the so-awful-you-wouldn’t-wish-it-on-your-worst-enemy… we are by their sides scrambling down the path when they try to outrun the mules in Kalaupapa, we laugh with them when an unfortunate laundry accident turns Ning’s Le Cordon Bleu uniform a brilliant shade of blue in Paris, and good lord do we cringe when they experience the tenth circle of hell, or more commonly known on this plane of existence as the Greyhound. Their globetrotting experience isn’t perfect by far, but all the better for the mishaps they meet along the way, accompanied by their rueful contemplation after the initial contretemps. We find that there’s so much to learn about the world we inhabit that we never really knew before, so much to see, so much left to explore. We see a new side to the countries and cities so romanticized on the silver screen and in our minds. In the span of over three hundred pages we get to skydive, crawl through incredibly cramped caves, and throw up out of the window of a car in a most spectacular fashion, all from the comfort of our armchair.

It is the candor with which Ning and Pamela recount their experiences that captivates and immerses so deeply that it’s easy to forget we’re not actually there with them. There is no preaching, no pseudo-wisdom, no extended over-the-top philosophical musing between the lines; the story is laid out simply, as it is, easy to digest but substantial nevertheless. When we read the final page, what we discover is that despite the lack of in-depth introspection, we have already drawn our own life lessons from the book.

Adventures of 2 Girls is not so much a well-executed concept nor light-hearted story, as it is a journey- one with misfortune and miracles alike at every turn. In essence, the book is a delightful read- an effective and refreshing blend of laughter and life lessons that never pretends to be anything more than what it is- an adventure (of two girls).

And who knows? It might just inspire you to seek out your own.

Reviewer: Belinda Ho

This is THE quintessential book to inspire and fuel the spirit of carpe diem, adventure and wanderlust in anyone and would make the perfect gift for people with a passion for travelling and adventure.

Be warned that it’s practically impossible not to feel an almost overwhelming desire to put your life and career on hold to see the world and set off on a grand adventure of your own while reading this book. The book is THAT inspiring. How could it not be as you follow the wild journey of two best friends, both extremely successful women in their own right as they take a nine month break from the peak of their thriving careers to tick off items from their bucket lists around the world? These women embody the spirit of YOLO as they set off on their grand adventure – You only live once so don’t live your life with regrets.

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From sky diving to getting locked out of their house in their undies in Hawaii, to fending off leers, marriage and threesome proposals and attacks by male strangers and aggressive gypsy kids in Casablanca and Santorini to roughing it out in Madagascar and trekking in the Himalayas, Ning and Pam give us a glimpse of the world through their eyes, often with hilarious and dramatic effect, as you would expect from two spunky and attractive ladies on a mission for an adventure of a lifetime.

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A highly entertaining, heart-warming and humorous read by any standards, this is one fun and enjoyable book which sweeps you in and magically makes the hours fly by.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”grey” align=”align_center” style=”” border_width=”” el_width=””][vc_column_text]Quotes by famous magicians:

‘Magic Babe’ Ning aka Ning Cai is one of a kind and her two books are the perfect way to discover it by yourself. Charm, humour and emotion are the key words of what you will learn about her throughout the pages. Get ready to be enchanted by the stories and adventures of one of the best female magicians telling you all about her amazing life!
– Boris Wild, French Champion of Magic
***
I’ve known Ning ever since we both got into magic, and it’s been inspiring watching her growth as an artist and a personality over all of these years. Ning’s endeavors and adventures are a testament to the power of magic to change the lives of both the people who practice it, as well as the lives of those whom they perform it for. Most importantly, though, it’s Ning’s cheery disposition that always makes her a real treat to talk with and listen to, and nowhere is that attitude more evident or contagious than in the pages of this book. So for those of you don’t have the pleasure of calling Ning a close friend like I do, worry not – by the time you reach the end of her story (so far), you’ll feel like one of her BFFs anyway.
-Kevin Ho aka @visualmadness, co-founder of Virtuoso
***
Even if Ning wasn’t the sexiest magic babe ever, she has the most amazing positive energy.  She is infinitely interesting.To put it plainly… she is cool as hell!!!! And her journey in life is one of the most interesting stories. It’s a fabulous book extremely well written, with a foreword by Neil Gaiman. The icing on the cake is there is genuinely great magic tricks taught inside.
– Nathan Kranzo, consultant for Penn & Teller’s “Off the Deep End”
***

I first met Ning when I was an awkward 15 year old teenager who was interested in magic. She had a online magic shop which sold various magic props, and I had ordered some items from her. She was unassuming, friendly and humble back then. Fast forward 10 years and now Ning is a famous, world-renowned and confident performer, while I am now an awkward 25 year old man. I believe this is the main reason why she has published two books about her life while I have not. These books are excellent, by the way. Buy and read them.

– Harapan Santoso Ong, author of Close Culls by Vanishing Inc.

***

A no holds barred, tell all expose that peels back the leather corset and reveals the true beauty of the “Sexiest woman in magic.
– Tim Ellis, two-time FISM World Championships of Magic winner
***
Before Ning Cai became internationally known as “Magic Babe” Ning, many of our Singapore magicians already took notice of this young lady magician.  Because of her outgoing personality, she participated in numerous public magical performances then, including magic contests (and she won).When she officially joined our IBM Singapore Ring 115, I had the opportunity to personally watch her blossomed into a magic superstar together with J C Sum.  I have known Ning Cai as a “go-getter” – whatever that she is interested in, she does not hesitate to experience it herself personally – and she always strives to achieve the best out of it.You can read all about these traits of hers in her 2 books “Adventures Of 2 Girls” and “Who Is ‘Magic Babe’ Ning?”  They will inspire you, as they did me!
– John Teo
President, IBM Singapore Ring 115,IBM Territorial Vice-President for the country of Singapore

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