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A Yank Back to England: The Prodigal Tourist Returns

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  160 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Denis Lipman left London’s East End for Washington, DC more than 20 years ago, but made an annual pilgrimage year after year to visit aging parents, a pair of cantankerous, real-life Cockneys. He endured the visits as best he could. Enter an American wife. Not content with a grin-and-bear-it attitude, she declares that since the trip to England was inevitable, then it was ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by GemmaMedia (first published November 30th 2009)
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Mar 01, 2010 Mary rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for travel memoirs. But I find so many of them are solitary pilgrimages, lonely adventures. In this book, though, the author takes the reader on family trips; I met (in the story) his bride, his parents, cousins, brother, and eventually his daughter. And it was not a one-time meeting. We returned to different spots for holiday all over England, and through the pages and the years, I experienced the joy of a new baby, sadness of watching parents age, a marriage deepening and a heart ...more
Enlightening and Fun Read Took Me Back To The England Of My Youth

My Air Force father was stationed to England in the 50's. I loved it there and always wanted to return to visit. A Yank Back To England:The Prodigal Tourist Returns,stirred many memories of our rural residences there,and visiting London and so many charming villages. The touch of humor was especially fun,as was reading about some of the foods.Everything goes good with toast,LOL!

Loved the many vivid descriptions of the places visite
Laurel Hicks
Nov 20, 2009 Laurel Hicks rated it really liked it
This book is a joy. Denis Lipman takes his wife and child back to England each year to show them the land of his birth and to visit with his cockney parents. With understated humor, he shows us the land, the people, and once in a while, his heart.

..."an absolutely wonderful book, not only about going home again but also about love and family and tradition and the passage of the years.” –Michael Dirda
Jun 02, 2010 Susan rated it liked it
I enjoyed this travelogue/memoir of a family visiting the father's aging parents in England. His wife, an American, plans visits to historic sites and villages within a short distance of London. An interesting look at some places and areas I hadn't read about.
Dec 28, 2013 Jo rated it it was amazing
Loved this book!
Aug 17, 2013 Reza rated it liked it
It would have been helpful if a few maps were included.
Christine Bode
Feb 18, 2010 Christine Bode rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites

December 30, 2009
by Christine Bode

I have spent my Christmas vacation relaxing and reading a delightful, splendidly written travel memoir by Washington, DC playwright and author Denis Lipman entitled A Yank Back To England: The Prodigal Tourist Returns.

I made Denis’ acquaintance last year through his interesting and colourful blog, England Rents, Raves & Rants and after reading his book about his family’s annual trips to England over a six year (actually nine) period, I feel as if I kn
Oct 13, 2009 Mandy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All lovers of travel and Anglophiles
Shelves: non-fiction
Part travelogue, part memoir, A Yank Back to England: The Prodigal Tourist Returns is a wonderful new book written by Denis Lipman. Former magician and playwright Denis grew up in Dagenham which is a little town in Essex, England but he moved to the USA over twenty years ago to find his fortune. A Yank Back to England chronicles Denis's annual visits back to England to see his aging, Cockney parents. While England is old news to him, his new wife Frances insists on seeing the countryside and con ...more
May 19, 2010 Catherine rated it it was ok
Although the sections of the book reflect six years of the author’s family holidays to his country of birth, his endnotes state that he actually condensed his reminisces from about nine years of vacations.

Lipman’s American wife Frances has a keen interest in visiting historical sites, which was great for them, but became a bit tedious fairly early on for me. Perhaps pictures or even a map of where and what they visited at the beginning of each chapter would have made for a more enriching and rel
Apr 16, 2010 John rated it really liked it
I liked this book more than I thought I would. Writers often create a mushy, unfocused muddle when mixing genres, but this one combines memoir and travel narrative quite well - one continuous, attention-holding narrative. Definitely recommended ... with one quibble: not enough backstory.

During the course of the book, it's not made clear how long the author has been in the States. So, assuming he still retained a British accent (to a significant extent), I suspect the reason he was sometimes mist
Mar 16, 2013 Bookworm rated it did not like it
This book was horrible. I normally love travel memoirs and love reading about England, but this book was a total slog to get through. I'm not fully sure what it was that bothered me. At first it seemed to have started off well with the returning back to England, but it was just his thoughts about being England. I did not get much of the sense of an American (or foreigner) traveling in England.

It seemed to be more of complaining and writing about his parents, which was fine at first, but started
Oct 04, 2010 Monica rated it did not like it
Wow -- I was looking at other folks' reviews, and people seemed to really like this book. I don't -- I'm finding it terribly dull. It basically describes a series of yearly visits to England by Lipman and his wife and then their child, visiting Lipman's elderly parents and many times renting cottages and visiting historical buildings, etc. I find Lipman's parents annoying, and reading this book makes me feel like I'm dealing with annoying relatives. I also had very little interest in the histori ...more
Mar 30, 2011 Christina rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
This was a fun book about a man who now lives in the US, but is originally from England. After he marries, he and his wife start to take annual trips to England to visit his parents. On these trips, they pick up his parents and go to visit some other area of England, renting a cottage for a week or so. Lipman's recollections don't always square with the reality of modern England. Over the course of the book, his parents and other family members age, and that becomes an integral part of the story ...more
Jun 13, 2010 Kathy rated it really liked it
I thought this book would be strictly a travel adventure as Denis Lipman(an Englishman who had moved to the US as a young man) shows his wife & daughter the charms of the English countryside & its history, detailing four separate trips back to his home country. But in addition to visiting pubs, Roman ruins, cathedrals and lovely little villages, the book turns into a memoir as Denis invites his elderly parents along and discovers more about THEIR history and also his own. I enjoyed the w ...more
Stacey Marien
Jan 06, 2014 Stacey Marien rated it it was amazing
I met this author recently. He is a friend of a friend and a small group of us were invited to review chapters of his new book. I decided to read this after meeting him - this was thoroughly enjoyable. Part travelogue, part memoir. He lives in the US but returns to England with his wife and daughter for several years to see his parents, rent a place to stay for a week, and be a tourist. The memoir part about his parents is touching and it's clear he cares for them yet is frustrated with their li ...more
Heather Hoerle
Dec 23, 2009 Heather Hoerle rated it it was amazing
My favorite book this year... couldn't put it down. The author -- a reluctant tourist in his own country (prodigal tourist)-- spends several years heading back to visit his East End family with his new wife and eventually lovely young daughter ... madcap adventures ensue, and so does family bonding. If you love England, this book is for you. If you love stories about finding your roots... this book is for you. If you like humor, mixed with pathos... this book is for you. If you like brilliant wr ...more
Aug 25, 2010 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! Denis Lipman writes so candidly and makes his Cockney parents pop right off the page. What I enjoyed the most, was just snooping along on the two week-long vacation the Lipmans took to England each year.

They visit all sorts of "lovely" bed'n'breakfasts, a few "nafty" holes in the wall, and several well-described sites of interest like Winston Churchill's grounds and painting studio. I was sad to see the book come to an end. Can't wait to see if Denis writes more....
Naomi V
Jan 19, 2010 Naomi V rated it really liked it
i really enjoyed this book. it's a bit memoir, a bit travelogue. written by an englishman who has moved to america, it chronicles his visits back to England, in which he became a tourist in his home country; along with his aging and somewhat difficult parents. Denis Lipman shows warmth and (mostly) patience in his travels and has a completely different perspective on traveling in England than you usually read.
Mar 03, 2011 Nette rated it liked it
I thought this was charming, although it's more of a travelogue than a travel essay, with detailed descriptions of the food at tea shops and the amenities at the B&Bs. But the family's adventures with the author's very, very old and crotchety parents (instant access to tea and toilets: critically important!) are funny and sweet, and made me wish my own parents had survived to such an advanced age.
Margaret Pinard
Jan 23, 2017 Margaret Pinard rated it really liked it
Loved this travelogue-cum-memoir of the author's new life mixing with, and savoring, the old. Touching picture of how one can come to terms with aging parents amid all the culture clash. Also lots of funny anecdotes of Londoners in the countryside, and neat places to explore in the Smoke!
Apr 03, 2011 Jane rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: travel-books
Denis Lipman allows us to enter his life completelty, even sharing mental thoughts we usually hide from public view. I totally enjoyed every moment with all of his family and could relate to so many amusing but honest moments.
Dec 11, 2011 Barb rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
Great combination of travel writing for day trips near London and the story of a man dealing with living across an ocean from his parents as they age. Engaging writing with vivid characters. And now I want to rent a cottage near Sandwich.
Mary Kay
Jan 04, 2011 Mary Kay rated it liked it
A guy from London's East End goes to the US where he gets a job & an American wife. This account follows several of the couple's yearly trips back to England to visit the family & tour the country. The dialog is wonderful, especially since it's real!
Apr 22, 2011 Joyce rated it really liked it
Half memoir, half travel book. An Englishman who now lives in the US makes a yearly trip home with his American wife to visit relatives and site see. A little James Herriot along with a little Bill Bryson.
Sep 03, 2010 Oodles rated it it was amazing
A heartwarming, funny, wonderful book that will appeal to all who have aging relatives AND an interest in England. I highly recommend it!
Apr 24, 2010 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
Hilarious and insightful. Part memoir, part travelogue.
May 07, 2013 H. added it
to read
Oct 14, 2014 Ktarquette rated it really liked it
Great travel memoir
Jul 28, 2009 Frances rated it it was amazing
English author now living in America discovers his old country is not so bad after all--great fun, yet quite moving.
Dec 17, 2010 Michelle rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
How many stories of Yank-Algo-Saxon vacation hijinks do we really need? Answer: just one. This would have been a really entertaining short story but, alas, it is merely a mediocre book.
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