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Road to the Dales [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Gervase Phinn
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 Mar 2011

Gervase tells of a life full of happiness, conversation, music and books shared with his three siblings, mother and father. This book is a snapshot of growing up in Yorkshire in the 1950s - reminisce with Gervase, and share in his personal journey - of school days and holidays as well as his tentative steps into the adult world. Devour numerous uproarious stories including the incident involving a broken greenhouse, crashing his brother's newly restored bike as well as secrets about his first dates, adventures at summer camp, family trips to Blackpool and many other captivating tales.

With a wicked ear for the comical, and a sharp eye for detail, this beautifully written book visits poignant moments, significant events and precious memories from a boy called Gervase.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Penguin; Abridged edition edition (25 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141041250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141041254
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 12.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 560,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gervase Phinn is a teacher, freelance lecturer, author, poet, school inspector, educational consultant and visiting professor of education - but none of these is more important than his family.

For fourteen years he taught in a range of schools, then acted as General Adviser for Language Development in Rotherham before moving on to North Yorkshire, where he spent ten years as a school inspector. He holds five fellowships, honorary doctorates from Hull, Leicester and Sheffield Hallam universities, and is a patron of a number of children's charities and educational organizations.

Gervase lives with his family in Doncaster.

Product Description

About the Author

Gervase Phinn is a teacher, freelance lecturer, author, poet, school inspector, educational consultant and visiting professor of education - but none of these is more important than his family.

For fourteen years he taught in a range of schools, then acted as General Advisor for Language Development in Rotherham before moving on to North Yorkshire, where he spent ten years as a school inspector - time that has provided so much source material for his books. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, York.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I almost wish I was born in Rotherham! 13 April 2010
Reading Gervase Phinn's latest book, his memoirs of life up to leaving home to go to college, makes me ALMOST wish I was brought in Rotherham in the 50's. And went to South Grove Secondary Modern School for Boys. Gervase has described the teachers at the school with warmth and detail, and also the teachers at his infant and junior schools. In fact there are a wealth of fascinating characters in the memoirs, not least of which are his family - parents, siblings, wife and children. I love the sound of his brothers and sister, and his parents who switch off the telly at the first sign of kissing.
Then there is life growing up in the fifties, playing up at the local farm, on the building site, in the street. It's a wonderful evocation of the era, and it's a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I tried to make it last and last, but unfortunately too soon it finishes with Gervase passing A levels and setting off to Teaching College, after narrowly avoiding becoming an accountant.
His wonderful descriptions, rich language, fabulous cast of characters and laugh-out-loud anecdotes have left me wanting more.Hopefully there will be a sequel, describing college life and his teaching jobs.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gervase Phinn - back to front 6 Nov 2011
I found this book by accident, having been a fan of his Dales books for some time. It is a book that starts at the beginning of his family life and ends with his struggle for success at school, leading to his being a teacher and ultimately a Schools Inspector, collecting many well-deserved educational accolades and awards throughout his career. I couldn't put it down, mainly because during the time I was reading earlier books about his life, the children and teachers he meets as an Inspector, I had wanted to know how he got there. Hence my suggestion that this is a book that is back to front as it post-dates the Dales books.

Nevertheless, this eventually proved to be the appeal of the book. There was already an idea of the character of the man through his Dales books. I saw him as a calming influence amongst his colleagues, an inspirational, empathetic and understanding visitor to the children in the schools he was inspecting and a sharp observer of teachers. He could almost have included pictures on the page such were his beautifully observed descriptions of the ferocious Mrs. Savage and the slightly mad, but well-intentioned Connie.

So for me, this book squared the circle. An added benefit, however, was that he spent all his early years in South Yorkshire and this gave it meaning for me and a sense of place - as so was I...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very pleasant reading experience 30 Jun 2010
I love Gervase Phinn's books. His writing is gentle, family-friendly, with a sharp observational humour that gives his words a wry wit. As a consequence, I was thrilled to see that Phinn had written a new book dealing with his own life while growing up in Yorkshire.

My view of this book is extremely positive, in the main. In fact, the main factor of 'Road to the Dales' I didn't enjoy was the structure. Phinn's commentary darts all over the place, which does give the novel a gossipy feel (this might have been the aim, to be fair!) but doesn't help the reader really get too much of a grasp on what Phinn will be chatting about next. It is far from linear, and, in the first part, deals more with Phinn's family than on his own story.

I did also recognise a few anecdotes from Phinn's novels about being a school inspector in Yorkshire. It strikes me that most people who would read this book would have read his prior novels, and so it seemed a little short-sighted to duplicate material. Happily it was very infrequent.

These minor issues aside, 'Road to the Dales' is a wonderful book. The stories of Phinn's early life and his progress through school, the holidays he takes, the games he plays on the street outside his house - all are related with warmth and a huge affection for the places and people that informed Phinn.

Having a father of a similar age as Phinn lent extra poignancy to my read, since I've heard my dad speak of many of the same sweets, food, games, experiences from when he was growing up.

The part of the novel that I enjoyed the best was the way Phinn spoke about his teachers and the learning that led him to pursuing the role that we see him taking on in his books about being a school inspector.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to where it all began. 7 Aug 2010
Gervase Phinn's (GP) "Dales" series is well know, liked and loved for its tales of a Yorkshire school inspector with various characters and no doubt poetic licence to make them enjoyable reads. However in Road to the Dales GP is taking us to the beginning; the beginning of his life with a family history, social history of growing up in the fifties, a record of schooling, and a reflection on what influences a growing lad, basically an average lad's life.

There are tales, some long, some short, and some no doubt with Yorkshire poetic licence from not just GP but also his family. All just ordinary folk with a tale to tell. The beauty is GP has captured it all within his book....
"... every one of us has a story to tell. They might not be massively exciting stories, dramatic, full of incident and intrigue, but nevertheless they give fascinating insights into the lives of ordinary people and should be preserved. Sadly many are not...."

GP's love of reading is throughout the book and the influence his parents and subsequently his teachers had on his reading is apparent. He looks back with kind regard at how certain individual teachers stood out for him and made his education richer. There are obviously the teachers that made no help whatsoever; but GP admits you learn something from them. In his case put into practice once he began his teaching career.

Written with the same Yorkshire humour as his "Dales" series, you will get more of the same here. There are a few anecdotes which appear again here, but so few that you do not heel this book is simply a rehash of previous ones.

There is no structure to this book and this is not a criticism but an observation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The Yorkshire Lad
A good light hearted easy read with a deal of reminisances but not one of his best books. Never-the-less I would recommend it to those who enjoy the good Yorkshire sense of humour.
Published 2 months ago by John Axe Dickinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming stuff
I loved reading this book, it reminds me of my own childhood as my parents were very traditional. The lovely dialect brings back fond memories.
Published 3 months ago by Book Worm
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab
I have read all of Gervase Phinn's books and have been to one of his theatre shows where he talks about his life and books, so it is lovely to get a behind the scenes, so to speak,... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kaye Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars gervase phinn
as all gervase phinn books a very good read indeed.his descriptions are so vivid that it is easy to draw mental pictures.
Published 5 months ago by Chris Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars Road to the Dales
This book was wonderful to read, and I was so impressed that I wrote to Gerviase Phinn and told him how it put me right on the pages with my Childhood.
Published 5 months ago by david mccordall
5.0 out of 5 stars Jolly good read
This is in Gervase Phinn's usual witty humour and has you laughing out loud with his tales of his own school life in Yorkshire.
Published 6 months ago by Daisy
3.0 out of 5 stars A good story teller!
I enjoyed the book, but I prefer the Author to narrate his stories. He can make the stories come more alive then, than in the written word, in my opinion. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Helen
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant reading experience.
The book arrived promptly and was in excellent condition.
Enjoyed the book, it was a good holiday read by the pool.
Published 11 months ago by D. Mepham
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Just love everything Mr Phinn writes. I love Yorkshire so that's a good start and his words 'paint' wonderful pictures of
the scenery and I love his descriptions of his... Read more
Published 13 months ago by beverly tonks
1.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the title implies
Too much showing off. Full of himself. Boring. Would not recommend to anyone. Put off reading any others by the same author.
Published 14 months ago by Dennis Cousins
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