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on 13 August 2013
Having loved On The Edge, another book by Carroll, I was excited by his latest adventure and I wasn't disappointed.

It has opened my eyes to homelessness and changed my perception. His honesty is refreshing - it would have been so easy to have omitted his smuggled £100 and giving-in to nights on his friend's sofa, which makes the whole book more 'human', real and powerful. He also 'humanises' the homeless and made me question my own fear and previously negative perceptions (I'm ashamed to admit it!).

I think I may pick up Down and Out in Paris and London after this! Thank you for writing this excellent thought-provoking book.
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on 2 August 2013
Charlie wants to live like a tramp for a few months: all well and good but how realistic is it when he has a home, money stitched inside his the hem of his coat and posh friends ready to let him sleep on their sofa, use the shower and offer some champagne with the meal in London?
Charlie is trying his best to be tramp but the set up is wrong and the outcome necessarily artificial. Still, there are some interesting "interviews" of genuine tramps and homeless people and the book would certainly have benefited with more of those.
The author has some genuine human insights about homelessness and tries to give homelessness the genuine emotional dimention that it needs and deserves.
Nevertheless, the book remains a bit of a false start and a let down in so far as it seems to aim high but doesn't deliver.
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on 16 July 2013
This guy can write! Tackling a subject as woefully missunderstood as homelessness without ego, pretention or self promotion was never going to be easy for the vast majority of published writers today but, Charlie Carrolls narrative glides beautifully encompassing all the expected and unexpected horrors one may expect from his chosen subject along the way. Neither preachy nor too liberal this book takes us into a world many of us knew was there but only a very few of us cared about.
Read it in a day. Minor niggle is that personally i think he spent too long in London when the other areas he covered seemed to promise more material than perhaps he afforded them.
Still, if you want part travel, social study and a testament to the joys of walking you need no longer reach for Orwells down and out. This surpasses that tome quite easilly in my opinion.
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on 30 July 2013
If someone decides to:

- leave his wife and safe home with no actual need
- walk from Sennen all the way to London with no money and just carrying a knapsack packed with a sleeping bag and a cooker
- sleep rough almost every night
- live as a tramp among the homeless on the way and a long time in London

He has a giant set of steel balls and a tremendously open mind!

Congratulation Charlie Caroll. You opened a parallel universe hidden from me - until now. Tremendous respect for what you have accomplished and how beautifully, rich and exciting you packed this experiences in words.

Please keep writing. I'll recommend "No Fixed Adobe" to anyone in a heartbeat.
Proper Job, cheers write!
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on 15 August 2013
This book is highly perceptive and insightful. Charlie's language is accessible, witty and beautiful revealing the details of several encounters with homeless people and tramps throughout his journey from Cornwall to London. Even though the writer puts himself at the heart of the subject of the book he does not take the heroic slant and instead reveals a beautiful vulnerability to someone living in extreme situations and conditions. I see the book as a documentary, an eye opener, and an exposure of a social problem with much needed help.
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on 16 June 2013
No fixed abode takes you on an enlightening journey from Cornish tranquility to city street life, on foot! It describes British countryside and culture thoughtfully, romantically and honestly.

It gives great insight into how homeless people are viewed and treated and also how the homeless view 'us'. A captivating tale for anyone interested in modern British culture and how our society has such large social disparities, largely 'swept under the mat' and/or forgotten about (especially to the country dweller) illustrated along the way by unpredictable and thought provoking social encounters. It also takes you on a journey through homelessness itself and all the perceived or very real threats one must deal with and this is through the eyes of a rational and intelligent human being.

It is also a travelling tale and there is something very beautifully British and timeless about a long walk along Cornish coasts, canal paths and city streets. I highly recommend this book.
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on 5 August 2013
Charlie Carroll's 'No Fixed Abode' is a fascinating and touching insight into the world of the rough sleeper. Leaving his home behind he takes to the road to live the life of the 'tramp' on his long walk from Cornwall to London. This book provides an honest account of both his physical, and mental, journey through the countryside and on the city streets. Carroll's experiences and the testimony of those he meets along the way shed new light on the issues surrounding homelessness whilst at the same time being engaging, thoughtful and well written. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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on 30 August 2015
Per a few other reviews here, I was underwhelmed by Charlie Carroll's effort. First of all, I thought the writing quality was pretty mediocre - the level of say a competent GCSE creative writing exercise. I guess that comes of being a teacher.

I found Charlie, the person, at times, rather self-indulgent and self-righteous. He's quick to disparage many of the characters he comes by, and makes sweeping idiotic statements like: "The comment 'I'm not a racist' usually means the opposite" and "She, of course, betraying the saintliness of most teachers..." (Saintliness?) - to quote just a couple. Clumsy at best. In my opinion, blinkered and prejudicial.

Then there's the actual report of the journey and Charlie's experiences. For me, it really would have benefitted from more detail about the homeless life - the practicalities: where did he obtain water, where did he wash, if at all, where did he defecate/urinate? There's something a bit half-baked about this account on the whole. And then there's the overnight stays at friends' houses in Bristol and London. Even on the streets in London, Charlie joins the political protest tented communities at Westminster and St Paul's rather than repeat the experience of the genuine homeless on The Strand.

I think Charlie Carroll liked the idea of 'doing an Orwell' and the associated moral kudos of tasting and reporting that dark underside of our modern society. Unfortunately, he's fallen well short of Orwell's achievement ('Down & Out In Paris & London); also outstripped by John Healy's more recent 'The Grass Arena', for that matter.
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on 4 September 2014
This is a good book, As someone who had brushes with homelessness, I can applaud the authors approach to this subject. I have read a few reviews that dismiss the authors experience on the grounds that he wasn't entirely without somewhere to stay at times and he had the luxury of calling it off and going home if needed. This is true but is this not also true of Orwell, went he wrote 'down and out'..?
Charlie describes so many instances of the difficulty of been homeless,ranging from fear,boredom and cold to things that those who have not experienced it would perhaps not realise eg shame,incredible tiredness and expense!
Charlie is good at describing the myriad of reasons people end up in this situation, from the bad luck story to the downright hopeless bad guys. Perhaps the most compelling from my point of view was a passage where he describes those who feel they don't deserve anything.
So perhaps the best way i can sum up this book is by saying, I used to be homeless and I got out of it, then I became someone who is settled and says no thanks to a Big Issue seller using that terrible blocking hand motion. Now I have read this book I bought the big issue today with a tip and the vendor says to me 'hang on,don't you want your change?' was humbling and also a pleasure to hear.
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on 23 June 2013
This book explores a side of our society that people rarely think or talk about.
He explores places that most people would not voluntarily enter. This book is sensitive and allows you to feel as if you are taking this dangerous journey while you remain in the safety and comfort of your home (or wherever you choose to read.)

I would recommend this book to anyone with an open mind.
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