Customer Review

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The sort of book for people who like this sort of book, 2 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America (Paperback)
Bill Bryson is an unpleasant little curmudgeon, and it shows all over this book. When he comes home from England and decides to drive around his native country, he is shocked - shocked! - to find that:
A) The distances are long and a lot of them are boring. B) Poor people don't live in quaint little cottages, but in distasteful trailers, and their dress sense isn't always the greatest. C) People who cater to tourists like to make money, and some of their advertising claims are inflated.
Bryson's livestock mentality toward women is a dead giveaway of the Midwestern upbringing he tries so hard to put behind him. Oh, and what is up with his love of pricey boutiques? He always approves when he finds a town that has converted itself into an upscale tourist mall (Warm Springs, Ga. for one). Evidently tourist traps are fine as long as they're tasteful and expensive. This is the kind of predictable America-bashing that Brits and Europeans love (which is fine - nobody's asking them to come here). It gets boring pretty fast, especially since some of his rants are practically verbatim copies of one another: he drives into a town with an ugly strip, eats some bad food, goes back to a saggy motel bed and watches some cheesy TV. Every so often he adds a run-in with a rude waitress or a big mean RV for levity. Whee!
It's hard to understand why Bryson went on this trip if he knew from the start what he would find. In fact, you have to wonder whether he really bothered to do all that driving. He could just as easily have written all this from some cozy armchair without ever having to leave England. Bill, take up a hobby or something. I hear tae-bo is great for the endorphins.
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