Rating: 3 out of 5
Probably one of my least favourite Bryson books thus far, it’s clear that the author hadn’t yet grown into his style for this travelogue. While the ancillary information is okay, the wanderings themselves are a touch too unconnected to make for a solid narrative. Of course, it also reads in a fairly dated way, and the hearkenings back to the ’70’s don’t make it any more relevant.
Yet, in trying to recreate the journey of his youth, however, Mr Bryson strikes a deep chord. I imagine most have a journey they can remember from their past—for whatever reason—which would make for a thrilling look into one’s own story if recreated two decades hence. Thus, the memories that the author drew on were very enjoyable for me.
I think Mr Bryson’s more recent books exhibit more style. Though the crassness is too present in the book for it to be thoroughly enjoyable for myself, it is quite fun to see national stereotypes proven true in so many ways as with nearly everyone the author meets on his trip.