Ive just come back from a holiday in Majorca and I had saved this book to read whilst away. Im so glad I did, its a fabulous book about living in Spain and all the problems that come with it. The author is very good at setting the scene and the characters they meet along the way seem to spring to life with each passing chapter. I must admit I got the map out and looked where the book was set and all the places mentioned in it..We had been to a couple of them on our own travels. All in all a good read and I cant wait to read the next book in the series.
This is a really warm book (no pun intended) and a departure from my normal reading menu (mostly sf/cult) so I was pleasantly surprised. I read it whilst on holiday in Spain and I couldn't have felt closer to the wonderfully human 'Señor' Peter, Ellie and all of the other characters that drop in on the way. Peter Kerr has done a fine job to mix dreamy descriptions of the *real* Mallorcan sensations alongside hilarious accounts of some of the incidents that befel him and his family.... I wont give anything away, but I found it difficult to put this down and read it in about three sittings. Suffice to say that you get a real feel - warts and all - for rural life on a mediterranean island, brought to life between your ears by the flowing prose. Read it and see Mallorca in a new light. You never know, you may well end up feeling a little *tranquilo* yourself. My only criticism would be that I'd like to continue the journey and find out how things worked-out beyond the first winter. Lets hope there will be a follow-up - excellent stuff.
Having recently read lots of "uprooting and starting afresh in sunnier parts of the world" books, I was interested to see how this compared to "Driving over lemons" (another fun read) and Im pleased to say that I was not disappointed. Peter Kerr transported me to sunny Spain and enthralled me with his impressions of a new country, its people and its customs. Every experience was described so vividly, I felt like I was there too, basking in the sunshine, meeting the locals and enjoying the exotic food. I chuckled throughout and laughed out loud on many occasions (on the tube on the way home - much to my embarressment) and was disappointed that it ended so soon. I have to say, it was unputdownable. I really loved this book and am anxiously waiting for a sequel. Thank you Peter for a great read! Keep em coming!
I really enjoyed this book and found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion! It revealed a part of Mallorca that is more traditional and away from the more touristy areas that I didn't know anything about. Its made me want to visit this beautiful island even more than ever now. Looking forward to reading the second book in this series.
I downloaded this book because I am trying to learn Spanish, and found a really charming book which I found difficult to put down. The characterizations are excellent, and very believable, bringing a real touch of Spain, when read in rainy England. Real Spanish words are scattered throughout the book, and although they are explained it is handy to have Google translate handy for a direct translation. A very enjoyable read, highly recommended.
I enjoy reading travel books when the British weather is cold and miserable and `Snowball Oranges' seemed like the perfect read for transporting me to the Med. On the face of it, it seemed to have likeable enough characters and the writing was decent- but it just took me ages to get through- at least 3 days. I'm a fast reader and usually would have finished this in around three or four hours, but I had to keep picking it up and putting it down again when I found my attention wandering. Unfortunately I never became fully immersed in Peter and Ellie's story which was a real shame.
The book follows Scotsman Peter, his wife Ellie and their two children, Charlie and Sandy, who up-sticks and take on an orange farm in the secluded Mallorcan mountains. They quickly come to realise however, that their idyllic dream might not be quite what they had hoped and that they have a lot to learn about the Mallorcan way of life.
Filled with anecdotes and amusing stories, it was admittedly a pleasant enough way to pass the time, though I just didn't find Peter to be a wholly engaging storyteller if I'm honest. I also felt that (maybe because I read so many books like this?) the book was a bit predictable in places with the ex-pats getting ripped off by the locals and trying to ingratiate themselves with the neighbours. This grew a bit tedious after a while. I also can't help feeling that the Kerr's were just very naive in just accepting the farm at face value without doing any proper research into what they were ultimately taking on- no wonder they had so many problems with it, along with the irritating Mallorcan bureaucracy which meant that things always got rectified later, rather than sooner!
For me, one of the main sticking points with this book was the Spanish words thrown into a sentence casually, intermingled with the British ones. It just didn't feel necessary. Kerr himself explains that his Spanish is basic, though he can exchange words with his neighbours. Why bother having half a sentence in English and then random Spanish words chucked in just for the sake of it? Was it to impress the reader or something? It felt very clunky and again, irritated me.
Overall, this was an easy enough read, hence the three stars, but I just didn't enjoy it as much as other travel writers works I've read in the past- prime examples being Annie Hawes', Carol Drinkwater and Peter Mayle to name but a few. I would probably try another one of Kerr's books if I came across it in a charity shop, but I wouldn't be in any immediate hurry to hunt one out.
I really enjoyed reading Snowball Oranges. I read it whilst on holiday in Mallorca and drove everyone mad saying "you know that book I'm reading....... There were many references that I was able to impress all around with. Such as what to order in restaurants (the pork and cabbage was delicious) and how to order chicken properly! I'm sure my "Pa amb oli" didnt taste quite as delicious as the one described in the book. It was written in a very informal style which was easy to read and made it very easy to relate to the circumsances being described. Each new character that the family encountered was described to a tee and you could easily cunjour up in your own mind the "tranquilo" farmer from the next "finca" leaning on the gate post providing the benefit of his wisdom whether it was required or not! The adding of a spanish word at regular intervals provided a very "spanish" or should I say "Mallorcan" atmosphere. I certainly became far more "tranquilo" by the end of my holiday in Mallorca and I am sure this was assisted by reading an extremely enjoyable and humorous personal account by Peter Kerr. I am looking forward to reading Manana Manana and have it on my birthday present list!