Top critical review
on 18 August 2015
The book was extremely repetetive, with details of countless garage trips for repairs to the motor home. As the book went on I have to say that I started to dislike the author, he appeared to come across as not a very nice character - especially when he "joked" about wanting to beat his wife Marie "very very very badly". Very poor taste and in the context it was written it just didn't come across as humorous. I did feel sorry for Marie by the end as he was extremely sarcastic about her and made constant digs about her breaking things in the van and other things. He does say at a couple of points how they became closer during their visit, but it is not balanced out by the constant criticism. As a sarcastic person myself I found his to be beyond the pale. I am glad that other reviewers pointed out his bad attitude towards some other people too. He definitely seemed to have an issue with anyone overweight, referring to British tourists in Spain (I think) as "wobbling" along the road, then talking about two "obese" octogenarian street sweepers in Czech Republic. We are not treated to any kind of physical description of any of his "good friends" that he makes along the way (the female half of "Team NZ" if there is a female half, remained a total mystery), so it seemed to stand out. There was also a clear dislike of children that I actually found quite shocking as it went along and he made worse and worse comments about them - none of which children appear to have actually done anything wrong. The last quarter of the book in particular there must be mention of drinking beer on just about every page, it's like he turns into some kind of functioning alcoholic, it's mentioned so much, along with the inevitable hangovers. (Not saying that he did!) Also, he mentions more than once, drinking cans (plural) of beer when in the shower, which I did find very odd. I know some real ale fans and beer lovers but this was... a lot. The spelling isn't bad but the sentence structure/punctuation is so bad that it interrupts your flow of reading at least every fifteen minutes. A sentence will make no sense and you have to read it once or twice more for it to actually make sense. In the spots where he has tried to correct this, he just puts semi colons in the middle of the sentence. Lastly, I wish he would have just worn boxers to bed as I was sick to death of reading (probably ten times at least) of his bare backside being stuck to the van window when he woke up in the mornings.
There is some nice stuff in the book and it was interesting for example to read how Latvians and Estonians were nice but Lithuanians weren't. All the castles, churches and pretty town squares started to blend into one though as there just wasn't enough enough detail.