Review published on November 27, 2017.
An interesting title that could raise the eyebrows somewhat, mainly due to the average image that the British have of Americans. After reading this book, certain passages reminded me of a quote by the late Dickie Henderson in his television series years ago: “America, a nation of wide open spaces invariably surrounded by teeth”. This book goes someway to proving him right.
Geoff Steward, the author, who is actually a lawyer, tells us that he needed to travel during a three-month sabbatical in America. Ostensibly he was seeking ‘nice’ Americans, but the first major part of the book mainly tells us of a few days spent with his children and his mother, trying to get along in New York. Then, when that short saga is over, he sets off on an itinerary, created for him by a professional holiday expert. He travels all over the USA looking for various iconic places that appeal to his wanderlust. Seeing a live bear is quite high on the agenda, the chances are numerous; missing them is the norm though.
One cannot help feel as though the book is more a printed version of a ‘lad’s club, shower room telling’. This is not to say that it is tedious, unfunny, annoying, frustrating, but there is something essentially missing. It has a very light-hearted way of guiding the reader along, very good descriptions of the characters throughout, the scenery is outstandingly well portrayed with the written word, but it really does feel like an author who likes blowing his own trumpet.
A light read for me; however, probably a good companion on a holiday trip, sitting in the sun sipping a cold one perhaps. It is a funny book, it has pathos and equal amounts of reality, and it all gels nicely. A blow-by-blow account of three months in America, good luck to him.
Reg Seward 3/3
In Search of Nice Americans by Geoff Steward
Biteback Publishing 9781785902635 pbk Aug 2017
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