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on 30 November 2013
As an ex-pat with strong Galician connections I was hoping this book would give me some light entertainment. But I forced myself to read it to the end. Someone made a comment on here that Craig was a miserable person. Although the comment was not untrue - you do get the impression that he's impatient, grumpy and arrogant throughout but I do not think this was intentional.
I think its important to mention that many of these positive reviews are quite biased as they are written by people who personally know the couple. My first and main issue was that nowhere in the book was there a description of who Craig and Melanie were? what they looked like, what they wore, their age? I had no idea who to identify with. Craig also made Melanie sound very snappy and unwilling to try anything in its environment (Pulpo for one) and you do get the impression that they are the typical kind of boring, needy ex pats one tries to avoid when living abroad.
The thing that bugged me most of all was that every piece of dialogue, every opening of a new chapter, I hoped would lead to somewhere else and it never did. Too much detail with "opening doors" and "closing doors" and "walking through them into light and airy rooms" which is in itself is fine..if it leads to something. If he had tripped over a brick and into something it might have raised a giggle but simply mentioning that he tripped over a brick and that was it. Pretty uneventful.
The section about loosing all their life savings brought some interest but again this was more one of those quick flash panic moments rather than the synopsis implying a whole chapter of their future is hanging on a thread. Personally I felt that none of the events in the book was hardly Catastrophic, a big disappointment for me I'm sorry to say.

One very important point to mention to the Author is that the "Galician accent" is in fact not an accent but a language in its own right.
I wish the couple the best of luck with their next adventure but I won't be reading about it.
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on 10 June 2014
Oh dear, another Englishman who moves abroad and then complains about it being foreign! yawn. A rather cliched and disappointing read.
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on 10 October 2015
Poor delivery of an interesting subject. Too long winded for my liking. Not enough descriptive narratives.
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on 7 January 2014
It was an ok read but the umpteen passages spent detailing the minutiae of daily lie, car buying, gas bottle deliveries was extremely boring.
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on 23 August 2013
A thoroughly enjoyable canter through the desires of a married couple to escape the daily routine of an existence in industrial West Yorkshire for a life in the sunshine of rural Spain. The ideals of such dreams as baited on progs like A Place in the Sun are quickly dispensed as the reality of coming to terms with life in a different culture. The frustrations and scepticism of those early days soon become a full hearted acceptance of a way life that prides itself on embracing those things which matter most, family, community,and the land. The West's abandonment of everything in pursuit of material happiness has yet to conquer this part of Spain and as Mel and Craig go through their resettling process so to does their appreciation of what really matters.
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Well done Craig on attaining your dream. We all have dreams I so envy you as you seem to have attained an idyllic lifestyle.
This was a well written book with fantastic descriptions of places, situations and characters. I had a very clear picture in my head of your predicaments - maybe because I have experienced similar situations myself.
I would recommend this book to everyone, not only for people starting out on a similar journey, but as a really good well written read.
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on 28 July 2014
I was hoping for a great story about moving to Spain but I found it quite dull and long-winded. I think a bit more humour would have helped enormously.
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on 21 December 2013
This is a well written book about the move from England to Spain to follow your dream. I like the fact that the couple have enough money to enjoy life while looking for their dream project. This couple also hires an architect and a construction crew versus doing it yourself as I have read in so many other books. Be that as it may, there are still many trials and tribulations. Language of course being a common problem when you go outside the tourist areas. Our couple doesn't let anything deter them and despite some upsets they find a home and when it is actually completed it is their dream home. They were lucky to find Silvia who acted as an interpreted at the drop of a hat.
Company came to visit before the house was complete but they were living in rented accomodations. Melanie's sister loved touring the Bodega's and a set of parents came just in time to cheer them up from depression.
Maybe I could have done this 20 years ago but it never fails to amaze me at what people go thru when moving to another country. I truly enjoyed this book and hope you do as well!
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on 8 August 2014
Details of their visits quite boring and not really relevant to the 'plot'
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on 2 October 2013
I am an expat myself and I have read a lot of memoirs like this, and although this was okay, I felt a little let down. Being from the same town as the author I expected the low points of the story to be lifted with some good old Yorkshire humour, but it just wasn't there. The writing is good but I feel the author could have softened his character a little as he comes across as impatient, intolerant, and grumpy. Having said that he had a lot to be grumpy about as this story seems to go from one disaster to another. I kept waiting for the expat transition - when you finally relax into your new environment, the sun comes out you know it was all worth it. Maybe that will happen in book two? I hope so because after so much bad luck it would be nice to see a positive outcome. The diary of a single parent abroad
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