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Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8,000-Mile Car Journey Around Britain by [Hatch, Ben]
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Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8,000-Mile Car Journey Around Britain Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 653 customer reviews

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Length: 353 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'disastrous five-month trip around Britain with two small children. The object... to write a travel guide.' -- The Bookseller, 29th April 2011

'mad-cap five-month tour of Britain... it turns out not to be quite the odyssey they had expected.' -- The Bookseller, 13th May 2011

"Ben Hatch makes me laugh." -- John Cleese

"A voyage of pain, suffering, argument, baby wipes, discovery and utter delight...Never travel in a car with children without this book by your side." -- Sir Terry Wogan

"A funny, touching cross country jaunt that's as much about being a kid as it is about being a grown up." --
Danny Wallace

“A wonderful book - hilarious and moving, all at the same time. Highly recommended for anyone with a family, a car or a sense of humour." -- Sophie Kinsella

“This is about a living, loving, occasionally quarrelsome but clearly very happy marriage and it felt curiously life-affirming to read about it. It’s very warts and all, extremely funny, very human and very sad. If you liked One Day or just like good books in general, don’t let this one pass you by.” --
Jenny Colgan

"Funny, touching and so, so, true to life. The must read of the year!" --
Mike Gayle

"Refreshing, insightful, very funny." --
Joanne Harris

"A wonderful book. Terribly moving and so so funny." --
Richard Briers

"Brilliant. Outnumbered in a car. I absolutely loved it. Funny, honest and moving." --
Tim Brooke-Taylor

“Very funny and equally moving. Ben Hatch is one of my favourite writers.”
-- Lisa Jewell

"If you're dreading a weekend car trip with small children this book can't fail t`o cheer you up." --
The Mirror

"Hatch humorously recounts his 8000 mile odyssey round Britain with his wife and two small children." --
The Times

From the Author

How my wife and I came to argue over which was the better owl - barn or tawny. How you change a nappy using nothing but a KFC Lemonfresh wipe. How to cope with a tortoise-phobic wife who drives like Mr Magoo. How to steal hotel buffet breakfasts and turn them into lunch. What to do when your trousers are so crusty with dirt you do not so much take them off at night as ....lean them up against things. How to cope with a car crash, a kidney stone, a nature wee in field of live ordnance, bat attacks and confrontations with puff adders, a Nazi and Billie Pipper's pyjamas. This is the story of how my family survived 8000 miles in a Vauxhall Astra.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1771 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale Publishers Ltd (19 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005K15D4W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 653 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,721 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An odd mixture here: it purports to be just an account of the author and his family's 5 month drive around Britain exploring tourist attractions, but the more important and interesting parts of the book are not about this at all, but about the author's relationship to his dying father. The title suggests lighthearted family fun, but that's rather misleading. The tragic bits are quite moving, but may not be to the taste of those misled by the title, cover and blurb.

In fact the travel part of the book gets rather repetitive and boring, just a series of quick looks at musems and zoos, tedious tales of the children's escapades (sure, they may be cute, but there is a limit to how many times we can smile at their normal, banal, childlike behaviour). The author is sometimes very condescending to his longsuffering wife , and the rather scrounging approach adopted by both of them, trying to get as much as possible for free, sometimes by threatening bad reviews, makes them a less than likeable pair to me.

The whole venture seemed to me a crazy way of treating two kids under four: dragging them from car to attraction to hotel every day for 5 months, only to return home just the day before the little girl is to start school! Moreover, many of the tourist attractions surveyed, especially the museums, would hardly seem designed to appeal to a two-year-old in the first place.

Finally, the parts supposed to be drafts for the proposed Fommers' guidebook are written in an extremely irritating style, with overlong sentences that seem to be trying much too hard to be clever and funny..; the style used in the rest of the book is much more readable. I certainly would not be tempted to consult the guidebook!

So yes, I got to the end, but I am not sure it was altogether time well spent.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This odd book is like one of those second-hand car trade scams where the front half of one written-off car is welded onto the back half of another write-off. The good half deals with Hatch's father's sudden terminal illness, which arises during the son's road trip, the rollercoaster many of us have been on of good news followed by bad news, and Hatch's often searing self-examination which is honest to the point of acute embarrassment at times.

Unfortunately the larger half of the book - a road trip round the UK which seems ridiculously long and pressured considering that 2 toddlers are involved -is a bit of an ordeal at times for the reader as well. Hatch's honesty about his own shortcomings certainly doesn't extend to his children, who appear to cause irritation and havoc everywhere they go, yet are endlessly indulged. Or his wife, a woman with an astonishing range of apparent phobias, and a rather insular and judgemental view of the world.

But it's the one-sided nature of the Hatch family's transactions with the rest of the world which really grates. The entire trip is based on "blagging" accommodation, meals and entrance to attractions - i.e. getting freebies in exchange for a possible mention in the guide book they're writing. How staying (free) in 5-star or boutique hotels fits in with a guidebook about family-friendly tourist destinations is anyone's guess, but there's little evidence of any gratitude from Hatch for their astonishing good fortune in being able to do this. Indeed the family gleefully nick stuff from breakfast buffets to make a cheap lunch later. But this seems to be the Hatches' modus operandi - we're told they "blagged" a free fortnight in Mauritius for their honeymoon, and even "blagged" an upgrade on the flights.
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Format: Paperback
You should read this lovely book. Seamlessly slipping across genre boundaries, it is a memoir about family life, disguised as a travel book, that reads like a novel. It is about all the big things in life - family, identity, love and death. But the travel book structure enables it to escape from the usual formulas. It doesn't need the 'big plot', the inevitable 'twist'. It just unfolds effortlessly, and its very refreshing.

The book is laugh-out-loud funny in several places. My absolute favourite was the puff adders and the slippers in bed. Anyone with kids will relate to to this.

The book has a serious side, too. I would normally put a book down if the back cover said that it followed the process of somebody dying of cancer... I'm too easily upset by that sort of thing. But I went along with this one, and I'm glad I did. Yes, the death of the author's father - Sir David Hatch - was very sad, and yes it made me cry, but what came through most was the warmth within that family. The book is full of energy and fun and optimism and life, and saying goodbye to the father is an inextricable part of that life.

The book reminds me of Nick Hornby, David Nicholls, and Tony Parsons' wonderful "Man and Boy", but it is not derivative of these. It is completely original, deserving to be read for its own unique qualities. Somehow, the cross-genre aspect frees it up to be all about the characters. So, although on the face of it, it's about the journey round Britain, the places the family visits, it is actually a love story about these wonderful characters; David, Dinah and the gorgeous Phoebe and Charlie.
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