Aaarrgghh! A book I both thoroughly enjoyed and despised in equal measures. I loved it because it was brutally honest about family life (some readers have loathed the apparent lack of discipline and bad behaviour of the children, but don't tell me you don't recognise ANY of those incidents!) and I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Ben and Dinah. I found it amusing, if badly edited at times. If there was ever a book to inspire people to stay together and enjoy your children, this is it. Ben's devotion to his kids occasionally verges on indulgence, and I'm positive I never looked at my toddlers twenty times a day and thought how lucky I was. Once a week, maybe. Ben never seems to see the negative in his children, which is sometimes slightly annoying and bordering on smug. The flip side is that this scenario could never had happened. I'm not the first reviewer to point out the discrepancies and inaccuracies in the timeline of this book - the moment I realised this was when the couple were trying to masquerade Charlie as a three-year-old to get him onto a fairground ride. Only a few pages before, they were unable to find anyone to heat up his jar of baby food. Really? A child who could pose as three eating baby food?! Call me a bad mother, but if I was caught on the hop needing to feed a baby a jar of food, he'd bloody well eat it cold and out of the jar and enjoy it. It's well known that David Hatch died in 2007 and most of the events in this book occured later than this. I can't work out whether the orginal, five month trip was abandoned because of his demise, or the car accident, or both; then resumed at a later date (maybe after Charlie was born), or whether the whole thing is an amalgamation of totally separate trips and visits over a number of months or years. But to sell a book on a premise that turns out to be untrue and to use a man's death to help knit that premise together in order for the book to sell seems dishonest and, well, a bit journalisty. Which is what both these parents are. Ben Hatch says his father's best advice to him was to 'be honest with your children.' Being honest with your customers might help, too.
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