Sunday, 13 November 2016

Five reasons I gave up reading Bill Bryson | The Small Desk

I like to do book reviews of all the books I've read. You can read them all here. I was determined to read Bill Bryson's The Road to Little Dribbling, as it had such good reviews and was a Sunday Times bestseller. Plus it is littered with interesting bits of British history that I thought would be interesting. I enjoyed his book on Australia but did find his moaning a bit irritating at times, despite this I never thought I would actually stop reading The Road to Little Dribbling because I found it too offensive and rude! I got to page 231 out of 474 and gave up. I wasn't enjoying it, and if I'm not enjoying a book I find it very hard to motivate myself to read it, which eventually means I just give up reading completely! I find it much easier to decide to stop reading a book and move on. I'm such a slow reader anyway (as I explained before) that I need to read books I love.

I didn't want to put all that 231 pages to waste, and I thought it would be a good idea to explain to you all why I gave up reading this book and why I won't be reading any more Bill Bryson.

1. Bad jokes
The book is full of bad jokes, or little incidents that have happened to him he thinks are funny, but are really not, sorry to sound so harsh! For example:
p.19 – he goes to a hairdressers and thinks they say his hair will be cut by 'a vet', when the hairdresser is actually called 'Yvette'.

p.102 – he meets two women on a walk back from a memorial - the women ask if he's come from the memorial and in the book he says '"No, I was having a dump in the bushes", I wanted to say'.

2. Everyone is an idiot
He complains about restaurant and shop staff a lot. As an ex-employee of two shops where I know customers can make your life hell it only made me sympathise with the shop staff! For example:
p.39 – he says to McDonald's staff 'I can't believe you are all this stupid', when they make a mistake with his order that he himself has admitted to stumbling over.

p.83 – 'Well, you're still an idiot' he says to a staff member at H&M after he (Bryson) mistakes it for an M&S and asks where the food hall is.

3. Too dry about being a grandfather
I don't like how unemotional he is about becoming a grandfather, and doesn't see that his role is to support his daughters emotionally, for example:
p.78 – talking about both his daughters due to give birth at the same time he is instructed to be near London hospitals - he write 'I was under strict instructions to be nearby in order to - well, I don't know what. Boil water perhaps. Stand around in a willing but useless manner.'

4. He always calls his wife 'my wife'
Why not call her by her name?! The way he talks about his wife really irritates me, he speaks about her as though she is a constant nag, or even worse, like she is his mother!

5. Rude about women
Only 100 or so pages in and he's already being rude about women. For example:
p.111 – 'Why Thomas Holloway and his wife Jane decided to sink much of their wealth into a college for women isn't known, any more than it is known why they decided to fund a companion building'.

p.115 – He sticks up for a woman in a bookshop who gets shouted at by a man with a mental disability, who he calls a 'madman', which I do not think is ok either, but after he sticks up for this woman she smiles at him (probably just politely), but he takes this as her adoring him and then says '...who knows where this encounter might have led? Unfortunately she was only about four feet tall and nearly spherical, so I simply shook her hand and wished her good day'.

I could go on, but I'd rather not waste my time any further! Have you read this book? What did you think?



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