This week’s book review: Are We Nearly There Yet? A Family’s 8000 Mile Car Journey Around Britain.
Are We Nearly There Yet? A Family’s 8000 Mile Car Journey Around Britain.
Ben and Dinah dreamt of becoming hard-nosed journalists, blowing the lid off political wrong-doings and uncovering global scandals. But with both of them nearing 40 and clinging to the last of their professional dreams, they sign up for a laughably stressful freelance job writing a family guidebook that would see them and their two young children travelling around Britain for five months.
The four of them pack their lives into a Vauxhall Astra and pinball between blagged free hotels and what seems like every single last attraction the British Isles has to offer, from Shakespeare’s birth place to Northampton’s riveting shoe museum.
A touchingly written side-story about Ben’s sick dad provides some heart and the author doesn’t shy away from dealing with the real-life, day-to-day business when you’re faced with losing a parent.
Hatch doesn’t side-step real life at all in fact, resisting the urge to create a bubble around the family’s unusual temporary existence living between their car, hotel rooms and twee attractions, and allowing disappointments about Ben and Dinah’s careers.
The book eventually reveals itself to be, not a mid-life crisis diary, but rather a later in life ‘finding yourself’ gap-year type adventure.
The message is to appreciate where you are in life, what you’ve got and what you’ve achieved, rather than succumbing to the ‘grass is greener’ syndrome or dwelling on past regrets.
An invaluable personal account for the author’s posterity but a little self-indulgent.
The actual guidebook the trip spawned looks a lot more fun.