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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Imagine it, due to circumstances outside of your control you have to downsize. The author of this humorous memoir tells us what happened when due to the above circumstances, she came up with an idea - live on a boat. To her surprise her husband didn't dismiss the idea. Having to sell their house is one thing, but trying to find an ideal boat is another matter.

Full of humour, husband, wife, children and a dog have to start to take to life on the water. This is a very easy book to read and get in to, and will be sure to give you more than a chuckle. If you have holidayed on the water before then you can sympathise with the author of this. This is a book that especially as it is on promo whilst I write this, is well worth getting.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2009
While the bare outlines of Marie Browne's story - family finds itself hard up, so moves onto a boat - sound straightforward enough, this wonderfully entertaining book brings the very unstraightforward details to amusing life.

Dragged from her consumer-oriented, Jimmy Choo-worshipping existence, Marie has to navigate spooky gothic locks, terrifying urban moorings and the dreaded dark Braunston Tunnel, with only a small flatulent dog, small noisy child and reassuringly capable, tea-fuelled, husband Geoff for support.

This book's enjoyable from start to finish - highly recommended to anyone after an engaging, laugh-out-loud tale of life in the suddenly-slow lane.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Having just bought our first narrow boat I ordered this book in addition to the usual practical manuals and maps to help us on our journey. I was hoping for a glimpse into real life on the canal, some guidance and also an enjoyable story. I got it all. Funny, honest and thoroughly readable, this book is also littered throughout with lots of practical information.

A great buy for anyone dreaming of life on the canal, or in fact anyone dreaming of doing something a little different from the norm.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2010
Absolutely loved this one.. Loved the flow of the prose and humour in adversity and the self deprecation about her control issues.
This must surely be autobiographical because although it easy in these internet days to research facts there's no way you can write with such hatred of surveyors or love of jimmy choos unless you've lived it.
Annoyed my wife by constantly laughing out loud ( i know every paper reviewer say it ,,but i did ) and then making her endure me reading the funny bits to her , even though she'd given me the book to read after her.Like other reviewers I havent finished it yet but wanted to share my thoughts as soon as poss ..will definitely be keeping for a re-read ..sorry charity shop !
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2009
I am loving this book! I'm still only on Chapter 8 and Marie's description of going through Braunston tunnel was just wonderful, evocative and funny, I knew exactly what she felt like and chortled loudly at the comment "I was positive something stroked the back of my leg!" or "convinced something was running upside down across the dribbling roof!"

I intend to add further reviews as I get through it because I couldnt wait till I've finished and although Im only a quarter of the way through, I know it will continue well. Its written humorously but with thoughtful insight here and there, the humour isn't fatuous and the actualities are not tedious.

Buy this book, don't hesitate.

bbiab
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2009
The story of how Marie Browne coped when disaster befell her family could have been a sad but dreary tale of disaster. Instead, it is told with such courage and humour that it will have you page-turning 'til late at night to discover what happened next.

Funny, brave and well written, this is a book to read when things seem bad, because some people have it so much worse and still come up smiling.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2010
Narrow Margins is a book about much more than the trial and tribulations found in every family. I empathise with the ethos of the book because I have been there. Marie and her partner have to make a difficult change of lifestyle when life plays them a bad roll of the dice. Living on a narrow-boat as a means to an end would not be anyone's first choice. Full of ironic happenings that make you smile and feel sorry at the same time. Narrow Margins is one of those books that makes you want to champion the underdogs to win through in the end. Life is testing the strength of their family relationship and resolve to the full. If you want to know the outcome - read the book, you will not be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
If you're like me and you trawl through the reviews for a book, seizing on those which are one or two star and attaching much more importance to these than the plethora of great reviews, then a word of advice - don't do that for this book! I can only assume that the one star brigade here consists of those who have had a sense of humour bypass. This is a great, very well written, story which offers a real insight into a way of life that I'm sure many of us have wondered about at some point. I accept that having "laugh out loud" in the tag line for a book is always going to make you a hostage to fortune, and there's very little that makes me laugh out loud these days, but I certainly tittered from time to time (they can't touch you for it) and I was disappointed to reach the end. Have a slosh about in the canal with Marie, you won't regret it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2014
I am a canal boater of some 40 years experience, 25 of those running a hotel boat. (See my book, Hotel Boat.) I found this book quite interesting when it dealt with the Fenland waterways I never visited, but on more familiar canals, a series of queer gaffes made me wonder if the author was making it up as she went along. I'll give you a few examples. One does not need any wind to turn a boat in a winding hole; "wind" here means not a breeze but "turn." Any woman who would allow a child to go along the gunwale in a tunnel should be prosecuted. She asserts that narrrowboats are 7'6" wide, passing through 8' locks on the Oxford Canal, but all narrowboats these days are built 6'10"; narrow locks are an inch or two over 7', if we are lucky. The author frequently asserts that her vessel, formerly a hotel boat, is, at 70' long, hue and clumsy, and terrifying to the much smaller hire boats on the Oxford. Well, when I began cruising in my 70' Unicorn in 1974, new-built boats of that size were quite rare (although there were plenty of big ex-trading boats about) and hire boats were indeed quite small, but by the time in which Narrow Margins is set, Unicorn's length was common; the average hire boat was over 60'. The author takes her washing by car from Cropredy to a launderette in Daventry, far back along the route they had come, rather that to Banbury, a short run on from Cropredy. Of course, when her huge boat leaves Cropredy, it heads to Daventry, on its way to Banbury! I find it difficult to believe anyone who had actually cruised the Oxford Canal could so casually transfer a town from Northampton to Oxfordshire.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2012
Narrow Margins will make you laugh, and maybe even cry at the lives of its well developed characters. You will rock along with them on the waters of the canal as they embark on a new journey, somewhere exciting and unknown. Whether you like memoirs or not, and whether you know anything about boats or not, Narrow Margins will explain it all and take you along on a ride with smelly dogs and teenage drama. Well written, and witty to the core, Narrow Margins deserves its place as ~25 on the Kindle best selling memoirs list. Start reading, and you will find yourself in bed at 4 am, wondering what happened to the rest of your day, but you will not regret it.
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