Top positive review
25 of 26 people found this helpful
Fresh, enthusiastic and highly readable.
on 4 January 2015
This book should be banned. Were it on paper then it should be burned. Why? Because it is an engaging, charming, enthusiastic and positive account of settling into a life on England’s canals and that is not the sort of thought that we want put into the minds of the dreary, droning, investment banker, social worker, property-developer, gentrifying classes. So look, if anyone asks, the canals are dark, covered in the bloodied-black dust of Victorian industry and populated by primitive, simian types with calloused knuckles that drag in the water as they head from Stygian tunnel to tunnel. The last thing we want is books such as this one, describing life on the canals as appealing, human, practical and enjoyable...
This is not a book of technicalities. It is not an instruction manual. It IS an account of the emotional and social changes that come with life aboard a tin bucket drifting up and down a drainage ditch or two, and most especially the changes that come if the bucket is your first home. This is as much a coming-of-age tale as it is about canals. If you read this book from that perspective then you’ll find yourself right there, alongside the author as he rejoices in pootling through countryside at a snail’s pace, when he panics when faced with novel set-backs and as he triumphs by overcoming them.
Buy this book if you’re looking for a well-written taste of life practical, everyday life afloat with all of the adventures that this entails. Buy this book if you’ve ever been stranded miles from home and family. Buy this book if you remember the chuckle that came with your first meal in your first home. Buy this book if you’ve ever developed cojones enough to leap into an unfamiliar world yourself and kick life into shape. Don’t buy this book if you’re expecting dry tables of costs or a dreary manual explaining the differences between the pointy end, the blunt end and exactly what to do with the pump-out hose.
The author’s style is fresh, enthusiastic and to use the modern term, highly readable. Unlike some other reviewers, I didn’t trip headlong over grammatical errors. The book can be read in a single sitting of a couple of hours. There is refreshingly not a whit of profanity in this book, no religioun and no politics. It is accessible to all ages. I am glad that I read it, and I am looking forward to enjoying the author’s other books.