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Road to the dales (French) Unknown Binding – 25 Mar 2011


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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (25 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 014197253X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141972534
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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 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.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Don Boswell on 13 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 By old age traveller on 6 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
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 By A. L. Rutter on 30 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 By Jo D'Arcy TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
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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