After reading the first fourteen Jack Reacher novels back-to-back, I decided to take a short break (at an appropriate cliff-hanger) and try something else. I’ve bought a few books for the Kindle recently, mostly on a whim, and one of these was Are We Nearly There Yet? by Ben Hatch.
In what could be considered a moment of madness, that Hatch family accepted a contract with Frommer’s which entailed them spending months touring the length and breadth of the country in a Vauxhall Astra (or two Vauxhall Astras, as it turns out) researching free, family friendly attractions for the guidebook, Frommer’s Britain for Free.
The book is an all-too-honest account of Ben, his wife Dinah (quick, touch your nose three times) and their two pre-schoolers, Phoebe and Charlie’s 8,000 mile trek. It is full of funny, heart-warming, moving and genuinely sad moments as Ben takes breaks from the road trip to deal with the progressive illness of his father. On the train into work I found myself blinking heavily a few times, and on the train home I only just managed to stop myself bursting out laughing. I’m still wondering whose toothbrush that was?
As someone who has recently left Britain, at least for a while, I found real pleasure in relating to some of the places the Hatch family visited, and laughed at the quirkiness of all of the others.
This is a hugely entertaining book, written by a talented writer. If you’ve got kids, have experienced a road trip, have seen a Vauxhall Astra or have ever been to Britain, you’ll love it. Charming, with added faecal matter thrown in for good measure. Although not literally. But almost.