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Pier Review: A Road Trip in Search of the Great British Seaside
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Hamilton-esque books, authors.. > 'Pier Review: A Road Trip in Search of the Great British Seaside' by Jon Bounds

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Nigeyb | 3858 comments Mod
I know Mark has an abiding interest in piers


I have just started reading...

Pier Review: A Road Trip in Search of the Great British Seaside by Jon Bounds

35 pages in and loving it

Fifty-five piers. Two weeks. One eccentric road trip.

Before the seaside of their youth disappears forever, two friends from the landlocked Midlands embark on a hare-brained journey to see all the surviving pleasure piers in England and Wales. With a clapped-out car, and not enough cash, Jon and Danny recruit Midge, a man they barely know, to be their driver, even though he has to be back in two weeks to sign on... Taking turns to tell their madcap story, Jon and Danny invite us to join them as they take a funny and nostalgic look at Britishness at the beach, amusement in the arcades and friendship on the road.





Mark Rubenstein | 1364 comments I finished reading Pier Review a week or two ago. For me, it was sort of a mixed bag -- I liked it, but with diminishing enthusiasm as the book progressed. Make that as the pages progressed, because my main issue was that the book itself didn’t really progress. Still, a worthwhile read and enjoyable enough, but I would have liked more historical information and fewer circular musings.

Eager to hear how you go, Nigel, and curious to see whether, like me, it has you pulling out your old David Essex albums.


Nigeyb | 3858 comments Mod
Interesting. Thanks Mark.


It's clearly going to be quite repetitive but I do like the two voices - and the split narrative but, perhaps, there's only so much you can say about a whistle stop tour of piers?


Mark Rubenstein | 1364 comments I don’t want to say anything until after you’ve finished!


Nigeyb | 3858 comments Mod
Mum's the word then Mark, I'm onto page 74 now. Painful to read the torture that is spending hours in a closely confined car whilst trying to get round numerous piers, many of which are a bit underwhelming


Nigeyb | 3858 comments Mod
I'm now on page 121, so about 45% finished, and I conclude it's less about the piers and more about the dynamic between the three participants.

I used to live in Southsea, which they have just visited, and thought they gave very short shrift to the South Parade pier. I have many happy memories of the place and there's a couple of interesting old theatres, now bars, that I have fond memories of. Neither warrants a mention. Which is weird.

That said, I am still really enjoying this.


Mark Rubenstein | 1364 comments Nigeyb wrote: "I'm now on page 121, so about 45% finished, and I conclude it's less about the piers and more about the dynamic between the three participants...."

That’s it, yeah. Maybe I went into it in a misguided sort of way, because I found myself having to redirect my expectations a few times throughout. In the end, I just didn’t find the three participants very engaging, or the dynamics between them to be all that interesting. There were quite a few funny asides, but not nearly enough to have kept the whole thing afloat for me.


Nigeyb | 3858 comments Mod
Finished!


Review....
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

It's painful to read of the torture that is spending hours in a small' car whilst trying to get round 55 piers in two weeks, many of which are a bit underwhelming. All the while the authors grapple with their pasts, their feelings about their country, and, of course, 55 piers, many of which are closed. They do draw out some interesting points about how the various communities view their piers and themselves. I have been to many of the piers they visit and broadly agree with their assessments.

'Pier Review: A Road Trip in Search of the Great British Seaside' is less about the piers and more about the dynamic between the three participants. The narrative voice switches between the two authors, who are close friends, and so we read about the same situation from two different perspectives and temperaments. This is particularly successful, and often very amusing.

The third participant is the driver Mitch who has to get back to sign on and so retain his unemployment benefits. He is an opaque figure, endlessly stoical and abstemious, but his presence also adds to the comedy.

The most enchanting aspect of 'Pier Review: A Road Trip in Search of the Great British Seaside' is the self-depreciating humour. Danny and Jon readily concede that their journey is ludicrous. And celebrate it. Britain's seaside towns are frequently dispiriting places, a microcosm of the country as a whole, and that's why we love them. Warts and all.

4/5


Pier Review: A Road Trip in Search of the Great British Seaside


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