4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
All human life is here.,
This review is from: Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8000-Mile Car Journey Around Britain (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.