This is the first Bill Bryson book I have read. Bryson, after living in Britain for 20 years, is returning with his family to the US for a while. Before leaving, he takes a 7-week farewell tour of the island. These notes describe his experiences in, and reactions to, the countryside, towns and cities he visits. His route, which takes him from Calais to John O’Groats and back to his home in the Yorkshire Dales, is somewhat arbitrary, visiting both well-known cities and obscure towns.

Bryson clearly loves Britain in spite of, or perhaps because of, its peculiarities. Although often critical of the people, the architecture and the institutions, he still loves the country and wants to return to it. The book is well written and laugh-out-loud funny. There is rather too liberal and unnecessary use of the F-word for my taste but this entertaining book is otherwise well worth a read.

This book was written in 1995 and much has happened in Britain since then. My next stop is “The Road to Little Dribbling – More Notes From a Small Island”, published in 2015. I’m curious to see if and how his views have changed in the intervening 20 years. I’m expecting more hearty laughs.

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