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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy and sad in equal portions
OK which one of my friends made me download this little gem to my Kindle/iPad? Because you have just ruined my chances of getting anything done. Just sat down to read a few pages and already I am hooked. A heart-warming and funny account of a great family adventure. Sadness and humour in equal measure this just delivers -can understand the good reviews-now buzz off I...
Published 24 months ago by Book Mum

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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Supreme irritation!
I thought that this would be an amusing read but my overwhelming response was one of sheer irritation at the constant tales of the children running amok no matter where they were. Note to parents - you may find your out of control children unbearably cute - the rest of us find them just unbearable. And as for the bit about his wife's incompetance behind the wheel, I...
Published on 11 Feb 2012 by L. Ellis


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB!!!, 7 May 2012
This review is from: Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8000 Mile Car Journey Around Britain: Family's 8000 Miles Around Britain in a Vauxhall Astra (Paperback)
Anyone who had travelled in a small car with young children will sympathize with this adventure. Even the arguments between Ben & Dinah are funny (we've all been there).This book is funny, informative and, in parts, sometimes sad. Read it. You wont be dissapointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy and sad in equal portions, 2 May 2012
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OK which one of my friends made me download this little gem to my Kindle/iPad? Because you have just ruined my chances of getting anything done. Just sat down to read a few pages and already I am hooked. A heart-warming and funny account of a great family adventure. Sadness and humour in equal measure this just delivers -can understand the good reviews-now buzz off I want to read to the very end tonight.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The UK's Bill Bryson, 2 May 2012
I normally read quite heavy books, but when I heard about this book via Twitter - where I have found other hidden gems, incidentally - I bought it. I was far from disappointed.

From the start, I literally laughed out loud, and continued to do so all the way through (and getting very strange looks from people in my vicinity if I was reading it in public). The concept of spending five months travelling around Britain in a Vauxhall Astra with two small children sounds quite mad - but lends itself perfectly to a series of hilarious events, the children providing a great deal of these of course. Whether you have children or not, you will in turn sympathise with, and laugh at, Ben and Dinah's efforts to keep the peace (and what is left of their sanity) during their travels.

However, there is a background story in the book involving Ben's father, and Ben somehow manages to retain his customary humour whilst dealing with such a dreadful time in his life.

I also enjoyed the interaction between the family members, and felt like I sort of knew them by the end of the book - and really want to know what happened afterwards!

It is a very human book in every way, there are ups and downs all the way through, but all in all I believe anyone with a sense of humour, and who can laugh at life will absolutely love this book. I highly recommend it, cannot wait to read more from Ben Hatch (a sequel, perhaps...?). And he made John Cleese laugh you know. Want a better recommendation?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have to stay in bed for a number of days,, 20 April 2012
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If you have to stay in bed for a number of days, you should read this book. This book is not just about going around all the tourist parts of England, Wales and Scotland, but also about his family life, the tears of joy and sadness, over a one-year period.
The way he writes you will come to know the family and you will feel that you known the family for a long time. I will not give the story away here but `be surprised the way I was'. By the end of the book, you will be sad that you have finished it. However, you will be very glad you did read the book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book!!, 13 April 2012
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This review is from: Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8000 Mile Car Journey Around Britain: Family's 8000 Miles Around Britain in a Vauxhall Astra (Paperback)
Having loved the old classic 'Notes from a small Island' by Bill Bryson, this book appealed to me because of the similarity of travelling around the UK albeit this time in a car with 2 kids and the wife in tow, and not alone on public transport.
I was pleasantly surprised; Ben Hatch has a very easy way of writing and this made me warm to him and his family in a way that in other books I have trouble doing (I find it hard to enjoy a book if I don't identify with the main character).
This is not only a story about the trials and tribulations of UK travel with small children (hotels, traffic jams, bad customer service, hospitals etc) as Hatch is very open in his descriptions of his inner feelings about the journey, his childhood, his relationship and most importantly the ill health of his beloved Father (I do admit to shedding a few tears). On the flip side some of the descriptions of Hatch's ill fated trip to hospital also had me in stitches!!
This is definitely worth a read, male/female, traveller or not and I guarantee you will enjoy it - I just hope the Hatch family feel they can cope with another long journey so I can read about it!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing book unwittingly raises other issues, 29 Mar 2012
By 
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8000 Mile Car Journey Around Britain: Family's 8000 Miles Around Britain in a Vauxhall Astra (Paperback)
Humor is always a very subjective matter, so I understand why any book that is intended to be funny will appeal to some people and not others. This book is no exception. I found the book to be very funny at first and it looked for a long way as if I would give five stars, although I ended up giving it four as it does become a bit too repetitive, At one point in the later stages of the book, but still a fair bit from the end, the author comments about increasing boredom because he is visiting the same kind of attractions that offer variations on the same theme. At that point, it suddenly hit me that the book itself reflects that, with the author simply repeating the same story in different locations. I didn't try to read the book all in one go - it actually took several bursts of reading, so the repetition didn't bother me, but I think it would have been a better book if it had been around 250 pages rather than close to 350. .It is particularly unfortunate that he describes the road from Aberdeen to Dundee as being on the north-west coast of Scotland. I seriously hope that this description didn't make it into the guide book. (It's on the east coast.) Occasional blunders (of which this is probably the worst, though the Wedgwood / Darwin relationship is another contender) and the book's length are my reasons for knocking a star off.

So it's a four-star book, but it arises from an ill-conceived project. Frommer wanted somebody to provide material for a guide book about British tourist attractions, with a requirement that each place be assessed for family friendliness - fair enough in itself, but (it seems) they wanted the material provided by one family who would spend several months travelling the length and breadth of the country, attempting to visit four or five attractions a day with few breaks. This automatically limited the possible families to those with pre-school children, because older children wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) be able to get the time off school. However, the main problem I have with the concept is that I'd always assumed (silly me) that guide books, as opposed to travel books, were written by people who wrote about places they were familiar with.

I don't blame the author for accepting the commission, because we all need to work if we get the chance (and I know plenty about not getting the chance) and I suspect Frommer would have had difficulty finding anybody with comprehensive knowledge of England, Scotland and Wales. They just wanted a guide book as cheaply as possible. The author, like most people, already knew about some parts of the country from previous experience, but there were large parts of the country he knew little or nothing about.

If Frommer were serious about the project, they would at the least have divided it up regionally, but maybe they looked at a world map, saw Britain as a tiny island and decided it wasn't necessary. While I hope that rival guide books are commissioned in a different manner, I'll look at them all differently in future. If in doubt, I'll turn to those amateur reviews on Trip Advisor for reassurance. I know from my own experience on Amazon that amateur reviewers are not always appreciated, but I also know that professionals cannot always be relied upon.

Another issue, raised by several reviewers, is child discipline. I was raised in a very different era, when discipline involved physical punishments. My parents were particular keen on harsh discipline. They found out - far too late - that it didn't work, because I made up my mind as a small child that I was determined to avoid family life as an adult. Society generally has learned that harsh discipline is not the best way to raise children, but I get the impression that the fashion now is at the opposite extreme. Whereas it seemed to me as a child that whatever I did was wrong, maybe today's children can do nothing wrong. Or perhaps parents, like teachers, are afraid that if they hit a child, the police will be after them. I don't know what the answer is, but it must be somewhere in between the extremes of harsh discipline and very little discipline.

I like this book as I explained in the first paragraph, but I only give Frommer one star.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh I've been there, 9 Nov 2011
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The joy of this book!
Places I've been to (or indeed lived in) and therefore so familiar.
A really funny travel guide that has parents everywhere nodding in agreement or cringing with familiarity!
But this is made more real by the tale of grief bought about by the sad death of the author's father and is passionate writing about the love he has within his family.
A real 5 star for me and I rarely read non-fiction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and moving, 25 Oct 2011
By 
VPeanuts (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8000 Mile Car Journey Around Britain: Family's 8000 Miles Around Britain in a Vauxhall Astra (Paperback)
Ever fancied upping sticks and travelling around the UK with your family while researching attractions for a travel book? I bet many of you have but one man who really did is Ben Hatch.

Ben and his wife Dinah were approaching forty with little work and money drying up and so decided, after a deal with an American publishing house, to pack their two kids into their Vauxhall Astra to travel the country hunting out child-friendly attractions as well as fun for the adults. Perhaps this was a naive idea considering they were taking two year-old Charlie and three year-old Phoebe.

As a twenty-something non-parent, I wondered how I would react to 'Are We Nearly There Yet?'. Would it make me never want to procreate? I haven't had a UK holiday since I was seven and I wondered what this book would have to offer me. After reading this book, there are plenty of places I'd like to visit and it definitely reinforced to me the joys (and tribulations) of parenting.

It is important to note that 'Are We Nearly There Yet?' is not their guidebook. That said, it does mention plenty of UK attractions. That's more to give you an idea of the setting for the dramas that occur.

'Are We Nearly There Yet' catalogues a five-month trip that is heart-warming and funny. There's drama as well as comedy and I frequently found myself laughing aloud at Hatch's anecdotes. The book also chronicles Hatch's father's final few months of life - and Hatch's feelings about this. There were plenty of tears as well as laughs. This book is a lovely tribute to his father, Sir David Hatch.

Whilst reading this book, I felt inspired to do something similar which is something I would never usually consider.

Even though Hatch doesn't sugar-coat the realities of travelling with two small children, he does paint the picture of a happy family who, most of the time, adore each other. The kids are full of character and Ben and Dinah's relationship is a wonderful inspiration. She's scared of turtles, he's a hypochondriac - what could go wrong? This book is a no-holds-barred account of parenthood, marriage and travelling.

It is one of the best books I have read in ages.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Made me laugh and cry (in a good way), 4 Oct 2011
By 
J. Rees "Jo Rees" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8000 Mile Car Journey Around Britain: Family's 8000 Miles Around Britain in a Vauxhall Astra (Paperback)
When Ben and Dinah Hatch get the gig to write a guide book about child-friendly attractions in the UK, they pack up their house, load up their Vauxhall Astra and set off on an 80,000 mile, five month journey around Britain. With their blue file bible preciously guarded with their plan, they stay at a different hotel every night and have a mind-boggling agenda of multiple tourist attractions to visit each day with their two small kids in tow. One museum a year is the norm for me, so how they survive intact is a miracle in my book.

It's a great premise for a travelogue, but in an attempt to capture this experience for the reader, this delightful book constantly surprises. Rather than being bludgeoned with information about the places Ben and his family see, the narrative is observational, witty and often laugh-out-loud funny. I hate it when people describe books as `hilarious', but there are passages in here that made me cry laughing, like the scene where Ben has to capture a bat which has flown into their cabin, or when Dinah gets freaked out when staying in a haunted castle.

Ben Hatch also manages to describe the quirky-ness of Britain perfectly. From the snooty people in the lake district, to the warmth of the Liverpudlians, the prose is faultlessly honest and manages to invoke a wonderful nostalgia for lost family holidays.

It also nails the mind-set of forty-something parenting - describing brilliantly the mundanity and hilarity of traveling with small children - as well as giving a very honest insight into Ben's own relationship with his wife and his father. The scenes he writes about his family are heart-breakingly poignant and touching.

The urge to go off and have an adventure is very common when you have small kids. I can remember sitting amongst toddler debris studying the atlas and imagining an adventure in Peru or Borneo. Are We Nearly There Yet made me want to jump in our rubbish Passat and take the kids off on a road trip much closer to home.

If you've got any mates with kids, I think this would make the perfect Christmas present.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read...., 5 Sep 2011
This review is from: Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8000 Mile Car Journey Around Britain: Family's 8000 Miles Around Britain in a Vauxhall Astra (Paperback)
I stumbled across this book, having just read a really good book I always struggle to start another one and get into it. However "Are we nearly there yet" was brilliant from page one. I couldn't put it down, it was funny, heart warming, sad and sometimes like looking into a little bit of my own family life too. If you love travel, have small children, like laughing a lot then this is the book for you! Highly, highly recommended!
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