Saturday, January 23, 2016
The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
Once again, Bryson roves about the British countryside, relating history, stories of roads, small towns, eccentric people, anecdotes about heroism. He has stories about British mythology and ancient Britain, stories about Stonehenge and the wrong information about King Arthur. In typical Bryson style, he rants about the roads, the idiotic plans for the country's airports. He rues the loss of charming shops and villages, the loss of quaint life as he remembers it. And, he does all of it with Bryson's sarcasm and humor.
At the same time, Bill Bryson realizes how lucky he is to live in Britain. And, he's aware of its beauty. He first went to Britain when he was twenty. "Gradually it dawned on me that I had found a country that was wholly strange to me and yet somehow marvelous. It is a feeling that has never left me." And, he sees London as the best city in the world. He spends quite a bit of time raving about its beauty, and all the parks that make it so beautiful. And, he celebrates all the neighborhoods and special places in the city. "London isn't a place at all. It's a million little places."
Don't read The Road to Little Dribbling as I did, straight through. Bryson's book actually becomes too much, too many details, if you read it all at one time. Instead, it might be smart to read a chapter, and pick it up again for another chapter. That's really what I've thought of some of his earlier books as well, better in small doses.
No matter how you read it, though, you'll regret you didn't know Britain twenty-some years ago. It's Bryson's own comments that make you feel that way. "I really do think Britain had attained something approaching perfection just around the time of my arrival."
Bill Bryson's website is www.billbrysonbooks.com
The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson. Doubleday. 2016. ISBN 9780385539289 (hardcover), 400p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.