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5.0 out of 5 stars
Great book to lose yourself in., 16 July 2014
Travelling in South East Asia and Skydiving in New Zealand are common fodder when it comes to exciting adventures, but doing something original makes for the best stories, and that’s just what George Mahood’s ‘Free Country’ provides.
George and his mate Ben embark on an end to end journey of Great Britain starting in only a pair of Union Jack boxers, and attempt to make the 1000 mile journey without spending a single penny. The result of this is stories such as ending up sleeping next to bulls in a farm barn, singing Christmas carols for food in the middle of summer, and other little moments which genuinely made me laugh. The book is one of the first I’ve read for a long time for pleasure and is one I can whole heartedly recommend because of the laughs it provides but also the warm hearted gooiness the reader feels from the realisation that on our fair isles, there really are some great people out there.
The masterstroke of ‘Free Country’ comes from the relate ability of the two main ‘characters’ the book focuses on. The adventure is recalled from George’s perspective, who comes across the more reasoned of the pair, whereas his friend Ben comes across with a slightly shorter fuse. Both are young, and just out to do something a bit different because they have the time. Further to this, the adventure is one almost anybody could recreate as it is without cost, unlike a trip to Thailand or New Zealand, meaning when reading, I couldn’t help but imagine myself in the same situation.
The brilliance is writing was never the point of the journey and as such is written by a person the reader is likely to have a similar individual within their own friendship group. The result is one can relate with their experiences; getting lost in the places they are and meeting the people they meet.
‘Free Country’ is not designed to bend the mind in an ‘da Vinci Code’-esque manner, but instead is just a book that allows a moment of escapism following the journey of two normal lads in circumstances many have the ability to create, but barely anyone actually does. This is driven home at the end with the realisation the book is self-published, which for anyone needing any more reason to give it a go, should offer further incentive, because the plucky courage to both embark on the adventure and also publish the book are admirable.
If you’re looking for something to read over summer by the poolside or commuting on the train, this is a perfect book to cheer you up and put a smile on your face. And at the end of the day, what can be better than that?