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A Yank Back to England: The Prodigal Tourist Returns

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  128 ratings  ·  30 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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Community Reviews

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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
Laurel Hicks
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
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.
It would have been helpful if a few maps were included.
Loved this book!
Christine Bode

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
Mar 06, 2010 Mandy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All lovers of travel and Anglophiles
Shelves: i-own, 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
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
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
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
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
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
Stacey Marien
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
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
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
Heather Hoerle
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
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....
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.
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.
Mary Kay
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!
Great travel 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.
Apr 03, 2011 Jane rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
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.
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.
A heartwarming, funny, wonderful book that will appeal to all who have aging relatives AND an interest in England. I highly recommend it!
English author now living in America discovers his old country is not so bad after all--great fun, yet quite moving.
I love this author, I've seen his plays, and can't wait for it to come out because I love England!
Hilarious and insightful. Part memoir, part travelogue.
May 07, 2013 H. added it
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Striking Terror - 2012 ABNA Entry Yank Back to England: The Prodigal Tourist Returns

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