Top critical review
One person found this helpful
Started well, quickly lost interest....
on 26 April 2016
To start, I have to say this is the first Bill Bryson book I’ve ever read so I can’t compare to any of his other work. To begin with, I was really enjoying this book, he had some interesting stories about each place he went (mainly from living in those places during the 80’s) and I was eager to continue reading. It started to go downhill about a quarter of the way in when Bill starts travelling to places he’s never visited before, Bill basically sets out with no planned route, doesn’t check timetables, when he does he leaves everywhere too late to make the bus/train he’s aiming for, then has to go somewhere completely different, then complains it wasn’t what he was expecting! Basically repeat this twenty times and you have an outline of the book.
Bill also complains about the prices of things, a lot. There is a section where he visits a museum (I think it’s a museum, I can’t be bothered to look through the book to find out) who charge £1.50 entrance and then want £2 for a guidebook. Obviously this is too expensive for Bill, who then goes on to complain that he doesn’t know what anything is due to not having the guidebook!
If you want a free version of this book, you can get this by simply visiting the Trip Advisor website, typing in a random British place, say Chepstow, selecting a variety of hotels, bars and restaurants, then click to view all one star reviews. Here you will find ridiculous complaints ranging from things being too expensive (£2 for a guidebook for example), the weather not being good enough and the buses not running from two completely random places quite as often as the reviewer would like.
I also really went off Bill when he shouts at a fast food worker who basically asks the breakfast equivalent of “would you like fries with that?” Is this not an expected question in every fast food restaurant in the world? A question which the staff are told to ask and who can not just decide they’re going to stop asking it? If it really bothers you that much, at least ask to speak to the manager rather than taking it out on the poor kid who’s just trying to serve you your egg Mcmuffin! When Bill wakes up the next day he remarks that he’s in a great mood, I then expected to see a line about how he went back to the fast food restaurant to apologise for his appalling behavior the previous morning. He doesn’t of course, I mean honestly!