Book Review: Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
September 7, 2013 16 Comments
This is a book I read for my real-life book group. Several of us have a special connection with England and we were curious about this book, in which the author travels around Britain and remarks upon remarkable things he comes across.
Notes from a Small Island: What it is about
The publisher says: “After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson took the decision to move back to the States for a few years, to let his kids experience life in another country, to give his wife the chance to shop until 10 p.m. seven nights a week, and, most of all, because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, and it was thus clear to him that his people needed him.
But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation’s public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy, place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey and Shellow Bowells, people who said ‘Mustn’t grumble’, and Gardeners’ Question Time.”
Notes from a Small Island: What I thought
This was a very enjoyable travel story. I lived in England for many years and recognised so many of the situations and habits. For people not familiar with Britain, some things will not ring a bell. But the gist of the story will be clear anyway.
There were a lot of funny moments in this book of the laugh-out-loud quality. Especially Bryson’s visit of a Glaswegian pub was funny. He didn’t understand the accent of the men there at all however hard he tried.
This book gives a really nice insight in Britain with all its quirks and its funny and friendly people. A fun to read, and to chuckle over.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (very good)
Number of pages: 400 (Dutch edition)
First published: 1995
I got this: from the library
Genre: non-fiction, travel