Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
a curious mixture of genres, not entirely successful
on 31 October 2016
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.