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By The Reluctant Hermit on 10-29-15
I think Bill would rather have stayed at home.
I usually love Bill Bryson's books but was disappointed with this one.It wasn't helped by the narrator who would have been ideal for a crime novel but did not convey the usual cheery,cheeky whimsy we expect from BB. By his tone I felt that he would much rather have stayed at home with his family and not been forced by the need of gathering material to go trailing about the country.He goes on too much about London which was boring and I don't know why he bothered going to Scotland at all. He spent most of the time in a sleeper (well at least he was safe from being "nutted" by the violent population in a sleeper) and it just felt like he couldn't really be bothered.Anyone who doesn't like a tunnocks tea cake is rather odd in my humble, Scottish non violent view.
21 of 22 people found this review helpful
By Deliabattie on 10-14-15
Narration not great
I think this would be better as a physical book as the narrator's clunky pronunciation of British place names throws it off course sometimes. I do enjoy Bryson's books but he can be a bit of a grumpy old man. I'm not sure this added a great deal to his previous book on Britain and it is a bit Southern centric considering it's supposedly based on the premise of travelling from South to North along a specific line Bryson invented.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Bammosan on 10-13-15
Sweet and Sourer.
What did you like best about The Road to Little Dribbling? What did you like least?
Best when he intereacts with people. Worst - sorry naration.
Would you be willing to try another book from Bill Bryson? Why or why not?
Always, admire and enjoy his work, just this time has a slightly bitter edge to it. Being a Yorkshireman myself, I can see he has taken on some of the Yorkshire characteristics.
Would you be willing to try another one of Nathan Osgood’s performances?
No, made Bill Bryson sound sour, I don't understand why Bill Bryson uses other narators, when he does it himself you become more empathetic to his point of view. Seems to have a random approach to having himself read his books or use someone else.
If this book were a film would you go see it?
Any additional comments?
Will listen again just to make sure I am not being unfair in assesment.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
By Barbara on 10-11-15
funny, perceptive and grumpy
I did love it - funny and interesting, but isn't he getting grumpy? I thought of how I embarrassed myself on a train by laughing often at "Neither Here Nor There", many years ago. This is as entertaining. I was able to compare my perceptions of many places with Bill Bryson's, as well as the pros and cons of attitudes in the UK and USA. I enjoyed listening on a tablet whilst flipping to follow his progress on a map.
" The Bryson line" notion was rather pretentious and irrelevant.
He slated aspects of our ways, interspersed with restating often how world beating a view or concept is. He'd receive better responses on his travels by being less snippy. But it's a "must read" for Bryson fans.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
By Rachel Redford on 10-27-15
Curl Up and Dye in Grimsby!
I must get a criticism out of the way first - the title, Little Dribbling. Perhaps Bryson's editor thought it was a good title or perhaps Bryson himself did - but it's not. It's not funny but IS mocking which gives an entirely wrong impression of the book - enough to put any half-serious reader off because the book IS funny and ISN'T mocking. It may be justifiably critical in many places, but it's not mocking. Overall it's a deeply affectionate view of England, a place Bryson loves and cares deeply about.
Some readers may find they like the Bill Bryson of Notes on a Small Island better than the Bryson of Little Dribbling. They may find him carping and critical and constantly going on about how stupid people can be, how ugly town centres are, how everything costs too much and how we're surrounded by crass grammatical errors. But a lot has happened since Notes on a Small Island, not least Bryson is 20 years older - his memory is longer and can therefore judge how things have changed, and yes, he's less tolerant. And Britain has changed. Bryson tells the truth, even if it's unpalatable.
So what you get is Britain NOW with its crazy scheme for HS2 to rip through the countryside at unimaginable financial cost to make the journey to Birmingham 20 minutes faster; praise for the hugely improved London Underground and a very funny account (not so funny if you consider the questions he was asked) of his written test for his British citizenship taken in Eastleigh, an occasion for poor Eastleigh to get the Bryson treatment with its interchangeable coffee shops, charity shops and closed-down shops.
There's plenty that Bryson loves - our countryside is the best anywhere, the Lake District (apart from the cars) is idyllic, no landscape in the world is 'more lovely to behold'. He's drawn to the quirky and odd which makes listening constantly interesting and often funny - like the Grimsby hairdressers in the title of this review. Why should we British be more frightened of cows rather than bulls? (Americans wouldn't even BE in a field with either, so it doesn't apply to them). He treats us to a multitude of potted biographies of people he had never heard of - Lord Leighton with his pictures of naked girls; Billy Butlin; the unfortunate Member of Parliament Huskisson, the first person to be killed by a train....
So if you want to be thoroughly entertained, laugh out loud, go to parts of Britain you may never have visited, come on board. The narrator is American which underlines the fact that even though Bryson is a British citizen and well-embedded in British society, he's still able to observe in ways we can't.
17 of 20 people found this review helpful
By Katy on 01-27-16
I've really enjoyed Bill Bryson books in the past, but I only made it through 6 chapters of this before I returned it. It's so gloomy, moany and downcast. I couldn't stand his harking back to the "good old days" any longer. Ugh.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful