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The Tent, the Bucket and Me [Paperback]

Emma Kennedy
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (265 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 April 2010

For the 70s child, summer holidays didn't mean the joy of CentreParcs or the sophistication of a Tuscan villa. They meant being crammed into a car with Grandma and heading to the coast. With just a tent for a home and a bucket for the necessities, we would set off on new adventures each year stoically resolving to enjoy ourselves.

For Emma Kennedy, and her mum and dad, disaster always came along for the ride no matter where they went. Whether it was being swept away by a force ten gale on the Welsh coast or suffering copious amounts of food poisoning on a brave trip to the south of France, family holidays always left them battered and bruised.

But they never gave up. Emma's memoir, The Tent, The Bucket and Me, is a painfully funny reminder of just what it was like to spend your summer holidays cold, damp but with sand between your toes.

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The Tent, the Bucket and Me + I Left My Tent in San Francisco + Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8000 Mile Car Journey Around Britain
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (29 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091926793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091926793
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (265 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Frighteningly hilarious" (DAWN FRENCH)

"An invigorating, warm-hearted and often hysterial read ... Brilliant" (Time Out)

"I love her writing" (JON RONSON)

"Offers all you could ask for in terms of lovingly remembered period details, comical pratfalls and well-justified swearing" (Daily Mail)

"Jaw achingly funny from cover to cover ... it will strike a chord with seasoned campers everywhere" (Caravan, Motorhome and Camping Mart)

Book Description

Pack your suitcases, we're off! The bestselling and hilarious 1970s childhood memoir of wet, windy and utterly disastrous family camping trips – now in massmarket paperback

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
81 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Camping - the filthy truth exposed 20 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are two kinds of people who will enjoy this book; those who go camping and those who don't.
In many ways, you might say that Emma Kennedy is an ambassadeur for camping in the same way that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is for McDonalds, but it isn't as simple as that. The book is written from the perspective of a little girl who had no option but to be taken along on what she calls "her family's disastrous attempts to go camping in the 1970s". So it is about camping then, but it is also an acutely observed social commentary on life during the decade that some people would rather forget. If you think this is rather a precocious set of memoirs from a girl of about eight years old you would be right - partly, because Emma does pay tribute to her parents, who withstood endless hours of interrogation to fill in the missing details and to interpret certain events that must have been bewildering to a youngster of such tender years.
Be warned readers, for this is camping in the raw; be prepared for tales of epic struggles against the elements; for near-death experiences; for close encounters with unfeasibly large quantities of human body waste. Be prepared to laugh out aloud until your stomach ties itself in knots.
Let's be frank - taken at face value, this book might put prospective campers of a nervous disposition off the whole idea for life, but for those who have "been there and done that", this book will make them chuckle knowingly at all the tales of misery and misfortune, yet make them keener to get out there and do the whole thing all over again.
This is a book that you can dip in to, read a chapter and then return to another day, so ideal for holiday reading, or any other time come to that.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OMG Buy this now! 25 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If I could have given this 10 stars - I would have done. The funniest thing I have read for years and all so familiar! I took it to the hairdressers to read when I was having my hair coloured and then sat and snorted and giggled for an hour. Eventually I had to tell everyone what I was reading and then ended up reading it out to roars of laughter from everyone in there! Sorry if that constitutes a public performance but a truly truly funny read - please go and buy it NOW! you will not be sorry! Poor Emma - all I can say is I hope her holidays have improved massively!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good laugh, but slightly unbelievable in parts 27 July 2009
By lizzie
I actually laughed out loud in parts over this book, which I've only ever done once before (Good Omens). That said, you have to get over the fact there is no real storyline, it is just holiday reminiscing from year to year which doesn't detract from it being a good read or good characters - you can so easily see and hear her relatives. It also makes it a good holiday read as you can pick it up and put it back down again. There were a few bits that didn't ring true - falling down a toilet in France when it's just a hole in the floor. In my experence these haven't been big enough to fall down.......but still a good laugh if you want a light-hearted holiday read while relaxing.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow 23 Mar 2009
This book is brilliant. I enjoyed the first book, but this one is so much better it's like the author was only teasing. She brings the characters to life so vividly, and entertainingly, I was absorbed from the first page. Honestly, wander into a bookshop, pick it up, and try the first chapter. If you don't love it, well frankly you're not the person I thought you were, and I'm a little disappointed in you.

No caveats here - this is flipping excellent. Literally can't recommend it enough.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it but 29 July 2009
For me this book bought back all my memories of holidays with my family in a caravan in France in the seventies. I did Townsend ferries, gas mantles and my sister used to check the toilets at every campsite and if they were not British we moved on!!I remember those terrible dark French motorway toilets with the big metal doors and never been able to find a light!! On the down side definitely too much poo, most people had toilet tents not buckets in the tent, and I do have to agree with other reviewers that there are many typo errors and the proofreader should have picked up the reference to the M25. The stories did get a little repetitive but if you were there, did camping, did France and owned a Land Rover you will love it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny but also irritating 12 May 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read the reviews on here I had hoped that this book would be right up there with 'e' by Matt Beamont and 'Starter for ten' by David Nicholls but sadly after a promising start it didn't make it in my opinion.

My rating of this book rollercoasted as I read through it. It hit 5* at several points and also 1* at several points. I just couldn't make up my mind so erred on the side of being generous. It is worth reading, don't get me wrong and I did laugh out loud a few times, but I think it got a tad tedious as every year there would be some other mishap which stretched the bounds of reality further each time. Considering Kennedy's parents were teachers they appeared to be pretty thick at times - leading me to suspect that some of the items are made up despite the statement to the contrary. In a somewhat ironic way I wonder whether the book may have been better had she made up some stuff - the problems that occurred were quite samey normally relating to Kennedy's prediliction for matters colorectal and gastric so be warned as poo and puke feature highly in this book - although I didn't mind that (having worked in general surgery it was like a home coming!).

What really irritated me (and I wish Amazon would have half stars as this would have resulted in me decreasing my rating) were the errors in the book. Firstly there is a strange problem with words that have 'o' and 'n' as their 2nd and 3rd letters e.g. towards the end the word 'pontoon' features quite heavily but it is always printed 'pon toon' as is 'con tact' etc etc - annoying. Reference is made to somewhere being only 5 miles from the M25 years before that car park was built. In the final chapter Kennedy gains a year as we reach 1979 and she is 13 having been born in 1967 so that's clever.

And lastly it's CALAMINE lotion not Camomile!!!

Perhaps there is a job for me in pruiff reedngi.

Rob Sawyer
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