Pearson wisely skirts Brussels, the home of the 17th-century statue of the Manneken-Pis, Belgium's unfortunate guidebook equivalent to Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower. Instead he heads into the countryside, taking a poke at sights no guide would have the guts to mention: the life-threatening preoccupation with electrical DIY projects and a Flemish landscape of garden ornaments littering every nook and cranny. Such observations are fuelled by Pearson's ability to deliver detail with a punch line though he doesn't approach Bill Bryson's story-telling ease.
Pearson began the trip in search of insight into one of Europe's most densely populated countries and concludes that the Belgians suffer from low self esteem. Then, with the wit that defines a traveller's tale over a guide book, Pearson reveals their common bond: 100 different beers and 35,000 cafes. After all, as Pearson reminds us, how can you not love a country that gave the British bitter, ale and chips? --Kathleen Buckley
funnier than Bill Bryson (Pete Davies, THE INDEPENDENT)
[Belgium] seems a great deal more interesting at the end of the book than it did at the beginning... Pearson is really funny. Do not read this book in a public place. (Jonathan Sale)