Alissa's Reviews > Notes from a Small Island
Notes from a Small Island
by Bill Bryson
by Bill Bryson
Jul 10, 07
Read in July, 2007
Bill Bryson likes hedgerows, yelling at people, the English language, complaining, pretending to be a hiker, the fifth Duke of Portland, W.J.C. Scott-Bentinck, and himself. He tries too hard to be clever, and although you're being introduced to some interesting mental pictures ("a mid-face snack dispenser" for instance), and it's positively obvious how much he loves the English language and the art of writing, the lengths to which he goes can be tiring. The long-winded, irritating tangents he goes on just add to this eye-clawing frustration. Also, he seems to be bipolar, or maybe hypoglycemic, for his like or dislike of a certain village or city appears to be related to how much he's eaten or how much sleep he's gotten. (Besides, who goes to see the best of England in the winter?) The way he is rude to a McDonald's cashier and the owner of a guest house simply makes me hate him. I also have a soft spot for the Scots, and the way Bryson pokes fun at the gentlemen in a local pub is unfathomable. (Oh, and Scotland is not technically in England, Bill, but since you seemed to be going for a review of the island, and since I've already complained about you more than enough in this little review box, I'll let it go this time.) On top of everything else, there is very little mention of my home for 6 months, Norwich, and the closest he seems to get is a switch at Newmarket. Still, I didn't completely hate this book, and it had me laughing out loud at some points because he hit it dead on. Interesting about the hedgerows and the former Duke of Portland, too. Mustn't grumble, or so they say.
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