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Customer Review

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to where it all began., 7 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Road to the Dales: The Story of a Yorkshire Lad (Hardcover)
Gervase Phinn's (GP) "Dales" series is well know, liked and loved for its tales of a Yorkshire school inspector with various characters and no doubt poetic licence to make them enjoyable reads. However in Road to the Dales GP is taking us to the beginning; the beginning of his life with a family history, social history of growing up in the fifties, a record of schooling, and a reflection on what influences a growing lad, basically an average lad's life.

There are tales, some long, some short, and some no doubt with Yorkshire poetic licence from not just GP but also his family. All just ordinary folk with a tale to tell. The beauty is GP has captured it all within his book....
"... every one of us has a story to tell. They might not be massively exciting stories, dramatic, full of incident and intrigue, but nevertheless they give fascinating insights into the lives of ordinary people and should be preserved. Sadly many are not...."

GP's love of reading is throughout the book and the influence his parents and subsequently his teachers had on his reading is apparent. He looks back with kind regard at how certain individual teachers stood out for him and made his education richer. There are obviously the teachers that made no help whatsoever; but GP admits you learn something from them. In his case put into practice once he began his teaching career.

Written with the same Yorkshire humour as his "Dales" series, you will get more of the same here. There are a few anecdotes which appear again here, but so few that you do not heel this book is simply a rehash of previous ones.

There is no structure to this book and this is not a criticism but an observation. There is a time line kept to but GP deviates from structured path in telling his story as stories come to him and trigger other memories but also observation on what life is like today as well. Much like life really.

As an enthusiast of reading and books myself GP talks of his childhood reading, his discoveries of books, his sheer delight in having kept childhood books for more than 40 years, and shows the reader that it is okay to be "ordinary", "average", "middle of the class" and still have great passion in academia and in reading. A lot of people will be able to associate with this I am sure. And just to check with you all; do you turn the page of a book correctly? Bet you did not know there was a right or wrong way? Avid readers evidently just know!

Another theme I could relate to throughout the book was religion and not something I would normally pick up on. I was in a position like GP going to a school that was not of my religion, in my case a RC school instead of CoE and understand the intrigue and differences that it can make to you as a child when certain things are excluded from you or not talked about.

Better than his "Dales" series but actually it was for me time for Gervase Phinn to move on with his literary output. An excellent book with so much to give to the reader. A gift from Gervase Phinn to all.
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