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Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8000-Mile Car Journey Around Britain Paperback – April 30, 2012


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From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, find hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849531552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849531559
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ben Hatch makes me laugh." John Cleese:

"A voyage of pain, suffering, argument, baby wipes, discovery and utter delight...Never travel in a car with children without this book by your side." Sir Terry Wogan

"A funny, touching cross country jaunt that's as much about being a kid as it is about being a grown up." Danny Wallace

"A wonderful book - hilarious and moving, all at the same time. Highly recommended for anyone with a family, a car or a sense of humour." Sophie Kinsella

"This is about a living, loving, occasionally quarrelsome but clearly very happy marriage and it felt curiously life-affirming to read about it. It's very warts and all, extremely funny, very human and very sad. If you liked One Day or just like good books in general, don't let this one pass you by." Jenny Colgan

"Funny, touching and so, so, true to life. The must read of the year!" Mike Gayle

"Refreshing, insightful, very funny." Joanne Harris

"A wonderful book. Terribly moving and so so funny." Richard Briers

"Brilliant. Outnumbered in a car. I absolutely loved it. Funny, honest and moving." Tim Brooke-Taylor

"Very funny and equally moving. Ben Hatch is one of my favourite writers." Lisa Jewell

"If you're dreading a weekend car trip with small children this book can't fail t`o cheer you up." The Mirror

"Hatch humorously recounts his 8000 mile odyssey round Britain with his wife and two small children." The Times

"An absolutely wonderful book." The Daily Mail.

About the Author

Ben Hatch is the author of Frommer's Britain for Free, Frommer's England with Your Family, and Scotland with Your Family.

More About the Author

Ben Hatch's latest novel is called THE P45 DIARIES: How To Get Sacked From Every Job in Britain. Currently being developed as a BBC sitcom, and a former BBC Radio 4 Book of The Year, it was previously titled The Lawnmower Celebrity and is based loosely on Ben's woeful experiences of his teens and 20s when his dad thought he was an oaf.
Ben was born in London and grew up there, in Manchester and also in Buckinghamshire, where he lived in a windmill that meant he was called Windy Miller at school for years, though he's not been scarred by this experience at all. He now lives in Brighton with his tiny wife Dinah, and two children, in a normal house. He likes cheese and is balding although he disguises this fact by spiking his hair to a great height to distract people he wishes to impress.
Ben (who is actually writing this and pretending to be someone else)has written for The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and The Daily Express among other newspapers. Previously he wrote ROAD TO ROUEN: A 10,000 Mile Journey In A Cheese-filled Passat that was a Number One bestseller and ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET? 8,000 Miles Round Britain In A Vauxhall Astra, a BBC Radio 2 Book of the Year, and also a Number One bestseller. It is also under developed as a film by Island Pictures.
Ben is the tallest Hatch who ever lived (5ft 9in) and is the son of Sir David Hatch, the radio performer and producer whose shadow Ben doesn't at all feel under. He also maintains that he knows the cure for the common cold (tweet him at @BenHatch to find this out) and that one of his relatives was John Couch-Adams who discovered the planet Neptune. Apparently, his aunty told him.

Many years ago his novel the International Gooseberry was published by Orion. It was about a hapless backpacker with a huge ungovernable toenail. It was described as "hysterical and surprisingly sad" by the Daily Express. Ben Hatch was on the long-list of Granta's 2003 list of the most promising 20 young authors in the UK, but missed out on final inclusion possibly because of the toenail stuff. In association with his wife Dinah, he has also written three guidebooks for Frommer's.

You can visit Ben Hatch at https://www.facebook.com/BenHatchAuthor although his page is a bit rubbish.

Customer Reviews

Funny and sad by turn; a book to be read widely.
Julia
I read this book about a couple driving though England over a period of 5 months with their kids in a long weekend.
Karin Verbeek
So I am very grateful that Ben Hatch did this for the rest of us - with wife Dinah and kids Phoebe and Charlie.
Penny Ewles-Bergeron

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Penny Ewles-Bergeron on June 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
If a non-fiction book has appeal it's often because it's about an experience you'll never have or a challenge you'll never face - climbing Everest, underwater archaeology, brain surgery. Ben Hatch's book is in that category. I will never contemplate, I would never have considered, even for large amounts of money, driving 8,000 miles around Britain with a partner and two small children to rate visitor attractions for their child-friendliness. So I am very grateful that Ben Hatch did this for the rest of us - with wife Dinah and kids Phoebe and Charlie. Shout-out hilarious and poignant by turns, the book captures the minor & major weather-systems of tempers, tears and joyfulness that cross family life and conversation, delves thoughtfully and bravely deeper into family relationships and registers all levels of grumpiness and kindness in the people met along the way. It also reminded me of the persuasive power of chocolate in parental negotiations with under-fives, something I'd forgotten about now that my daughter (another Phoebe) is well into her teens.

Very early in the book the reader learns of the terminal illness of the author's father David and since I'm from a generation who remembers David Hatch with enormous fondness from his contributions to the 'I'll Sorry I'll Read That Again' radio show, I found this very moving. However, this book is in fact as much a celebration of the pleasures and joys of family life as it is a record of Ben Hatch's coming to terms with the loss of a father with whom he wasn't always entirely at ease. It would seem that what Ben did inherit from his dad is a real gift for comic writing; the 'Draft Copy for Guidebook' sections were very funny indeed and if only someone would do this for the entire country, town by town, we'd have another comedy classic like '1066 and All That' on our hands.

Top marks and high fives for humour and humanity. A final thought - hide your toothbrush if Ben should come to stay.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MelMcK on June 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Are We Nearly There Yet" by Ben Hatch, I laughed, I cried and I wanted to slap Ben, his wife is a saint and cleaning my teeth has now become a traumatic experience.
Ben lets us share his madcap tourist journey around England with his wife and two pre-schoolers. Having recently done my own road trip around England with teenagers I felt a real connection with Ben and his family, it amazes me how much toddlers and teenagers have in common. Ben takes us on a roller coaster of a journey as he tries (often unsuccessfully) with juggling commitments to the road trip and the emotional commitments of his father's spiralling issues.
I walked away from the book feeling that I have had the privilege of sharing some very special moments with Ben and his quirky family.
Great read
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nikki Bywater on October 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the true story of Ben Hatch and his wife Dinah and their two children Phoebe aged four and Charlie aged 9 months. It is a challenge to take two children under five out for the day, let alone taking them on the usual two weeks family holiday. Imagine that holiday is going to last for five months, which is exactly what Ben and Dinah did with their two small children, when they were approached to write a guide book about family travel around Britain. So they packed up their car with a carefully planned itinerary and everything except the kitchen sink, oh and their coats too!

In this book we share their journey and experiences as they go from place to place visiting four to five different attractions in a day and sleeping in a different hotel every night, hoping that they will be child friendly. They visit some interesting places on their travels, from searching for Wallace and Gromit at the Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre, to the circus at Blackpool Tower and much, much more. This is not the actual guidebook this is more their own personal account of what happened when they hit the open road.

I have not stopped smiling since I read this book. It is written with really great humour and is laugh out loud funny at times in parts and deeply moving in others. We share the highs and the lows of travelling with two small children.
This book has got personality and charisma that make it a fantastic read.

Ben Hatch lives in Hove, East Sussex. His first comic novel The Lawnmower Celebrity was one of Radio 4's books of the year in 2000. His second, The International Gooseberry was published in 2001 and described as `hysterical and surprisingly sad' by the Daily Express.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Haschka TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The road didn't go through Wadcrag, I'd said. 'If you've been through Wadcrag you must be close,' she'd said. 'Have you seen the sign? ...When you see the sign for Wadcrag, you'll be close' ... I said again the road we were on didn't go through Wadcrag. 'Just go to Wadcrag and ring again,' she'd said." - from ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET?, a phone conversation with a hotel receptionist seeking directions to the hotel

"But the kids ... kept mistaking falling leaves for bats and were scared of the free-roaming sheep and it was so freezing on the exposed ridge we left early." from ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET?, the visit to Housesteads Roman Fort on Hadrian's Wall

At an earnings low point and looking for a gig, Ben and Dinah Hatch are commissioned by Frommer's to research a guide on the taking of a family vacation in Great Britain. So, the couple jams a mountain of luggage and their two kids, the "under-fours" Charlie and Phoebe, into a Vauxhall Astra for a 5-month, 8023-mile circuit of England, Wales and Scotland that eventually results in Ben's book, Frommer's England With Your Family (Frommers With Your Family Series).

ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET? is the behind-the-scenes narrative of the epic journey - or ordeal, depending on your idea of a jolly outing.

One of my thoughts on completing this book was that perhaps Charlie and Phoebe, actually age two and almost-four respectively, were too young to represent the average family experience as they either couldn't appreciate much of what they saw and visited, or weren't allowed to do so due to tourist attractions' age and size restrictions.
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