The tag line of this book is travels through unloved Britain, and the premise is that the author buys the worst car possible (apparently an Austin Maestro) and sets out on a journey to visit the worst cities and towns in Great Britain. He chooses by personal recommendations from friends and family and from cities that top the lists of worst places to live/work/ have terrible unemployment/drinking/obesity rates. While there, he stays in the worst hotels (according to trip adviser) and eats the worst food he can find. The book is humorous, but there is a lot of complaining, and I’m not really sure what purpose staying in the worst hotels and then talking about how terrible they are serves. Some of the places he describes aren’t as bad in reality as he makes them out to be (although I suppose if I ate the worst food I could find maybe I would feel differently).
I did like the underlying theme of the book, that these unique places are what makes Britain special, and the Tesco-ization of unique high streets is making it less so. I appreciate the functional main streets here where you can shop and run errands on your lunch hour. Where I lived in Connecticut, most main streets were defunct or underutilized, replaced by strip malls and regular malls. Here, while there are some malls, it seems as though people are much more likely to go to a local shop for their needs, or on a shopping weekend to a city, and I really like being able to run errands on my lunch hour without the use of the car.
So, while I wouldn’t recommend this book as a travel guide, it is an interesting read about places you probably won’t read much about elsewhere, and pretty entertaining.
What are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?