Most helpful positive review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good, if undemanding fun.
on 23 August 2007
The notion of what defines the north, either physically or spiritually is one that has been endlessly debated for many years. It would be somewhat optimistic to expect Maconie's book to answer the question definitively, which is a good job because it doesn't. But, by his own admission he doesn't really try to.
Instead, what we have is this: a neat, funny travelogue of sorts that manages to take snapshots of what (some) of the north is like. Being from Wigan, Maconie seems to concentrate his attentions on his own particular part of the north, though he does manage to branch out a little.
Others have commented that his prose can be a little rambling at times, but I don't find that much of a problem, feeling hat it's much more relaxed and chatty than it otherwise would have been. There are errors though, some major and these are less easy to forgive, others are more minor. Claiming in an extended passage about north-east football that Wilf Mannion played for Sunderland is, for a Middlesbrough boy like me, almost unforgivable.
A couple of more minor errors include that the NYMR that runs into Goathland is NOT a narrow gauge raliway. There are some others and they slightly spoil an otherwise good book, though we should perhaps castigate the editors rather than the author for failing to pick up some of this.
I'd certainly recommend it as fun holiday read or if you have a bit of time to pass on a journey. It's light, it's not too demanding and it's fun. And that, I think is the whole point.