Bill Bryson has the rare knack of being out of his depth wherever he goes – even (perhaps especially) in the land of his birth. This became all too apparent when, after nearly two decades in England, the world’s best-loved travel writer upped sticks with Mrs Bryson, little Jimmy et al. and returned to live in the country he had left as a youth.
Of course there were things Bryson missed about Blighty but any sense of loss was countered by the joy of rediscovering some of the forgotten treasures of his childhood: the glories of a New England autumn; the pleasingly comical sight of oneself in shorts; and motel rooms where you can generally count on being awakened in the night by a piercing shriek and the sound of a female voice pleading, ‘Put the gun down, Vinnie, I’ll do anything you say.
Whether discussing the dazzling efficiency of the garbage disposal unit, the exoticism of having your groceries bagged for you, the jaw-slackening direness
of American TV or the smug pleasure of being able to eat your beef without having to wonder if when you rise from the table you will walk sideways into the wall, Bill Bryson brings his inimitable brand of bemused wit to bear on that strangest of phenomena – the American way of life.
‘Delightful bite-size essays that exude affection while debunking the ridiculous with wonderful succinctness … This is not a book to be read in a single sitting. It is one to be savoured’ -THE TIMES
‘Bill Bryson’s answer to Alastair Cooke’s Letter From America … not only hilarious but also insightful and informative’-INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
‘One of his best books’ -INDEPENDENT