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Pier Review: A Road Trip in Search of the Great British Seaside Paperback – 11 Feb 2016

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale (11 Feb. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849538115
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849538114
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 2.1 x 13.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 233,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'Peerless'

(Danny Wallace) --.

Review

'Peerless'

(Danny Wallace)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in a nutshell, it's a total nostalgia-fest for anyone who ever had a seaside holiday - or day trip - to an English or Welsh resort, but it is also so much more.

Living in land-locked Birmingham, authors Jon Bounds and Danny Smith, plus their driver Midge, set out on a two week trip with the intention of visiting every pier in England and Wales. The aim, in part, was to recapture shared Eighties childhood memories, to perhaps do something that hadn't been done before. (It had. By Victoria Wood's brother).

Danny and Jon met up after setting up blogs online and the two thirty somethings quickly realised they had a lot in common (as well as a lot not in common), with a shared working class background that their education had taken them out of. Hence the nostalgia and the strong bond of friendship that keeps this book in great good humour and on an even keel throughout.

It reminded me a lot of one of my top five favourite non-fiction books, Ian Marchant's brilliant The Longest Crawl, where Ian and his photographer friend 'Perry Venus' went from the Scillies to the Shetlands on a month - long pub crawl of some of the iconic pubs of the British Isles, staying with friends, and mostly at good B&Bs.

Our heroes, on a wafer-thin Crowdfunded budget, had two weeks of sleeping in a leaky, collapsing tent (Devon, Kent, amongst others), in a converted coach (Devon, again), in friend's spare rooms (Isle of Wight) with the odd B & B visit (Kimberley House, Whitby, being a highlight). Not to mention Pontin's at Southport. These experiences as as much part of the book as the actual 55 piers.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As someone who has lived in the landlocked Midlands for an entire lifetime I spent a huge amount of time as a child touring around the Welsh and English coast with my parents and teenage brother in a Ford Anglia Pop and then later in a Ford Zephyr 6. Those coastal areas have changed so much over the years, not always for the good, and many of those wonderful, British piers haven't faired well. That comes across loud and clear in 'Pier Review' a quirky little book that's entertaining, packed with eccentricity but also a little sad. Just how I'd describe some of the now forlorn coastal areas visited on this road trip originally undertaken with the idea of visiting the site of every pier in England and Wales. The three central characters, Jon Bounds, Danny Smith and driver Midge, who only has a fortnight for the trip before having to return home to sign-on, are hard not to like but; haven't researched their trip properly. You wouldn't expect them to. Much of the pier scenery they're hoping for just hasn't survived which leads to some poignant reflections of their own visits to the seaside over previous years. The chapters are generally short, choppy and more blog than novel but I think that works here. Keeps things moving along. An easy, quick read which would work particularly well if you're off to the British seaside. Absolutely not a tour guide, you won't learn much, but worth a read if only for the general sense of mayhem and quirkiness.
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Format: Paperback
The piers that is. They die, but like all good mythological beasts, they are often reborn; Jon, Danny & Midge — well I won't tell you what becomes of them.

I was lucky enough to read a preview copy, which I took to the piers of North Wales on a summer holiday. You don't need to resort to this method reading — Jon and Dan will take you there to the faded, the hopeful, the resurrected, the gaudy, the beautiful, the dead — the British Pier.

This book is funny, (b)romantic and warmer than any day at the British seaside I've ever known.
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By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Mar. 2016
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book began as a drunken plan to visit every pier in Wales and England and led to authors Jon Bounds and Danny Smith embarking on the trip, aided by a driver called Midge, who needed to return to Birmingham within two weeks in order to sign on. Holidays to the British Seaside are part of many our childhoods and so it was, perhaps, ironic that this trip began in September – just as the weather got more unpleasant and the summer was over.

Although I appreciate that many British seaside towns can be dismal affairs, even in the heady sunshine, they are not improved by autumnal drizzle and especially difficult to be upbeat about if they are closed. It is fair to say that many of the piers visited by the trio were, in fact, closed…
This is very much a guy’s book – there is a lot of drinking and humour which veers towards the childish. I do not mean this in a negative way, as it has a feel of many such books written by men that I have enjoyed – such as Danny Baker or Stuart Maconie – but it is simply a fact that this book would be different if written by women. The whole trip would probably have been better organised for one thing, but perhaps then the book would have lost some of its charm.

I did enjoy reading this; although they were somewhat harsh about some piers I recalled fondly from childhood holidays. Perhaps that is one of the problems with this book. I have taken my own children to piers which, although from my point of view look dingy and dispiriting, are viewed with delight by those who are still young enough to be entranced by the flashing lights and gaudy colours, and so – although I enjoyed the trip round the coast – I think that the British seaside still does have a lot to offer. This is a homage in a way, despite the ironic tone, and is good fun, which will resonate with lots of readers.
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