Claire's Reviews > The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America

The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson
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Dec 19, 2008

did not like it

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person who's noticed the fact that Bill Bryson is a smug bastard who casts a pall of depressing sarcasm over everything he writes about. I mean, I'm all for sarcasm in most cases, but it's as though all of his subjects are cheapened and made despicable by his prose. In The Lost Continent, he turns every small-town inhabitant into an ignorant, obnoxious caricature. The book has virtually nothing to offer, unless you, too, are hell-bent on whining about the constant ennui of middle-American travel. If you'd like a travelogue with value and interest, try Blue Highways, by William Least Heat Moon, who actually has some respect for his fellow human beings.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
December 19, 2008 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Jessica I'm generally a bill Bryson fan, but I'm currently reading "the lost continent", and feeling the same way. It's falling short of his other books, by far.


Antonia Ha! Read "Neither Here Nor There"...he doesn't like Europe that much either. I'm off to read something more positive! Got to take Bryson with a load of salt. Don't take him personally. Claire: you're funny. You have my permission to burn his book. Bryson is indeed a "glass half empty" kind of guy and likes to make fun of most Americans...but did you notice he rarely records conversations in this book? He doesn't really speak with anyone except waitresses, hotel front desk clerks...so I take his views of American small townspeople with a bit of caution because they are not really valid. As you say, he spends most of his time in the car, or in a motel drinking a 6 pack, eating candy bars and watching TV. He's also premised his search on nostalgia for the 50s; trying to find a town that still operates in that era. I think he could have found that era by slowing down and actually speaking with people, must like Steinbeck did in "Travels with Charley".


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