Monday, 10 October 2016

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

It's a pity I do not have the time to write Bill Bryson's The Road to Little Dribbling a proper review, because this is prime time Bryson doing what Bryson does best: providing us with illuminating insights into life and this world of ours through travelling. This time around Bryson revisits the UK, or rather - rewrites, more or less, his Notes from a Small Island to bring it up to date [more or less, as we shall see].
At times, Bryson sounds like a grumpy old man. Only that, given I practically agree on almost everything he writes about, it's either neither of us is or both of us are. Instead of being interpreted as a grumpy old man, I would argue Bryson is a person who loves the UK but hates to see what is happening to it under a conservative regime hell bent on an agenda of austerity (read: funneling more money towards the rich at the expense of the poor). The UK is thus a great place, one of the best in this world, but it is also heading downwards - hence the grumpiness. Indeed, my sole point of contention with Bryson is to do with the local food: Bryson seems to enjoy what passes for food in England and, even worse, what passes for coffee. Clearly, the guy should travel a bit, see the world...
Jokes aside, the only problem with Little Dribbling - a book that is so very well written in such a rich and atypical (by today's standards) language - is that it was made sort of redundant by the recent Brexit. Bryson wrote the book as a sort of a warning to the UK, saying "look after yourself or...". But through Brexit, we now see the worst case scenario, the one Bryson only hints it, materialising right before us. If the Bryson book's UK was on the brink before but could still be sorted, now it is well past that point. Perhaps Little Dribbling will thus be remembered in the pages of history as the book that documented the UK just before it fell into the abyss?
Overall: Solid Bryson deserving 4 very solid crabs out of 5.

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