After living in England for the past twenty years or so, Bill Bryson, funny man and travel writer, has decided to move his family to the land of mega shopping centers, hamburgers the size of babies’ heads and wide open spaces – AKA: America. As a grand farewell and sort of tribute to this beloved country, Bryson begins a several month-long trek through his beloved home one last time. Starting at Dover and winding his way through cities and villages large and small, Bryson tracks his way up to the northern reaches of Scotland by way of railway, foot, and car. We are treated to Bryson’s musings every step of the way on all things English – including some of my favorites: the British ability to queue, their ability to get enjoyment out of unspectacular food, and most amusing: their unfailing politeness. The best phrase to remember if you ever visit grand old England is “I’m sorry, but...” whether it is your fault or not for the inconvenience.
Really this is less a travel book than an explanation on what makes the British, well, British. Bryson softly pokes fun at the culture and people he has come to love so much and in such a way that makes them dear to your heart as well. I really wish I had read this book prior to visiting Britain – it would have been wonderful to discover some of the lesser known treasures that Bryson chanced upon himself.
I listened to this book and the reader was fantastic: perfect comedic timing – in a very British, deadpan sort of way.