The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
I have read several books by Bill Bryson, Made in America is reviewed here: https://bookreviewstoday.info/2013/04/05/made-in-america-by-bill-bryson/. So, when I noticed his new novel The Road to Little Dribbling was out, I made a point of purchasing it. This book is a follow-up to Bryson’s book Notes from a Small Island, which I enjoyed. The Road to Little Dribbling re-visits some of the same places as Notes from a Small Island and new ones too. Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, USA in 1951. He settled in England in 1977, and worked in journalism until he became a full time writer. He lived for many years with his English wife and four children in North Yorkshire. He and his family then moved to New Hampshire in America for a few years, but they have now returned to live in the UK.
It was a long time since I had read one of Bryson’s travel novels, indeed, this is his first travel book in fifteen years, and I was so happy to have secured the new book. So, Bryson records again, a long-awaited, brand-new journey around the UK.
The Road to Little Dribbling begins with an amusing story of Bryson being hit on the head by a parking barrier and then another when he meets with his publisher to discuss ideas for the next book, that it would be a good idea to travel around Britain again. It was a good idea.
Bryson writes some amusing anecdotes of travels around the UK, which made me chuckle. and about different places to those he had visited before, but you also revisits a few spots. I especially enjoyed the stories about the Seven Sisters and Runnymede, and he does include interesting details about whatever region visits, he even deals with some current events. Overall it was a delightful read but it contained far too little about Wales and Scotland.
However, compared to some of Bryson’s earlier books, The Road to Little Dribbling was a bit disappointing. This book just lacked something. I finished this weeks ago and since then I have been struggling to put into words why I found it wanting. Bryson did seem a little less charitable and a little more political than in previous books. Also, there just was not as much richness in this book. The Road to Little Dribbling was superficial in a way that Bryson’s previous travel memoirs were not.
I still enjoy Bryson’s writing and will likely read whatever book he writes next, I am just not sure that I will rush to buy it so quickly.