Book Reviews

The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island (Bryson Book 1) by Bill Bryson

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List Price: £4.99


Kindle Edition: 397 Pages.

Published: 08 October 2015 by Transworld Digital

Edition: 01



Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation’s heart and became the bestselling travel book ever, and was also voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain.Now, to mark the twentieth anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey round Britain to see what has changed.

Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, by way of places that many people never get to at all, Bryson sets out to rediscover the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly unique country that he thought he knew but doesn’t altogether recognize any more. Yet, despite Britain’s occasional failings and more or less eternal bewilderments, Bill Bryson is still pleased to call our rainy island home. And not just because of the cream teas, a noble history, and an extra day off at Christmas.

Once again, with his matchless homing instinct for the funniest and quirkiest, his unerring eye for the idiotic, the endearing, the ridiculous and the scandalous, Bryson gives us an acute and perceptive insight into all that is best and worst about Britain today.


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Anne

Very, very funny in places

Bill Bryson revisits his "Notes from a Small Country" past by again travelling around Britain and commenting on the land and its people from the point of view of an outsider who has chosen to settle here. To be honest, he spends very little of his time outside London and the Home Counties and much, much less any further North than the Midlands. His choice of places to visit is as random as in the past and what he chooses to write about is similarly non-linear. I will also say that on more than one occasion he uses profanity in this book which is more than he has in previous books and which sits uncomfortably with his generally avuncular style.

Bryson has two things to say about Britain. Firstly, it is charming and unusual and he loves it. secondly, it is not the place that it was when he first visited in the 1950s and he thinks that a lot of good things have been lost and are being lost. At times these two points of view sit together in a strange way. I can't work out exactly what he is trying to say about the state of modern Britain and because he is only looking at a random collection of things I can't really put much weight on his overall conclusions - had he visited other places and looked at other things he may well have had a different view.

The author plays a major role in this book. He is not an objective observer. He holds passionate views on things and his experiences when travelling around Britain are part of the narrative. He

portrays himself as bemused by modern technology and rants about some major and some minor things. I suspect that a lot of this is a persona created especially for the book and that he is really a very technology savvy highly organised individual. But it makes for a good read. And that is what this book is. It's a good read. It tells us of a Britain which probably never existed, one which we definitely recognise and one which we would like to experience. It brings to our attention the things that we should, and often do, value about our country and our fellow countrymen. It is also very, very funny. The early sequence with the car park barrier made me laugh uncontrollably and I felt obliged to read much of this book in snippets to other people whether they wanted me to or not just to share the delight.

It's fun, amusing, occasionally enlightening and an excellent read. One star lost for those "f" words that crept in and which the book could have done without.

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