Thursday, September 27, 2012

Are We Nearly There Yet? by Ben Hatch

Ebook: Also published as paperback of 320 pages
Genre: Travel/Family Memoir
Publisher: Summersdale 2011
Source: Amazon purchase for my Kindle
First Sentence: The splurge of bags on the pavement is so huge and unruly it reminds me of news footage of a French baggage handlers' strike.
Review Quote: "Hatch humorously recounts his 8000 mile odyssey round Britain with his wife and two small children." -- The Times
My opinion: Worth reading but not for reason you might expect.

Are We Nearly There Yet actually turned out to be far from the funny travel memoir it is portrayed as! In fact at times I found the travel aspect a little tedious. Ben, his wife and children spent five months travelling around the UK conducting research for a family friendly guide book they had been commissioned to write. Yes it is a very funny story about the families adventures on this journey, although I would not have been happy if my children had been as badly behaved as these two. Maybe this was exaggerated for laughs but I am not altogether sure! Anyway after awhile I just found it all becoming rather repetitive with yet another embarrassing situation occurring at yet another attraction. Which yes all parents will identify with and yes it is written in an amusing manner that will make you laugh.

However the interwoven narrative was for me much more interesting, although at times an emotional read, it was much more satisfying. The author is forced to reassess  his relationship with his father during this period of travel as it is discovered that Hatch senior is terminally ill with a very short time left to him.
Without a doubt Ben Hatch has the ability to pull one in with his writing and this memoir is worth reading for the way he has written about this darker side to the story, for me it made up for the boring bits.

I did not realise that I had actually read something by Ben Hatch previously, The Lawnmower Celebrity back in 2001 until I checked my records.  It appears to be be many years since he last published a novel but I hope he does so again.

Author Profile
Photo from Twitter.

Ben Hatch was born in London and grew up there and in Manchester and Buckinghamshire, where he lived in a Windmill. 
His first comic novel, The Lawnmower Celebrity, based loosely on his time as a chicken sandwich station monitor at Darlington McDonalds, was named one of the Radio 4's eight books of the year in 2000. The International Gooseberry about a hapless backpacker with a huge ungovernable toenail was published in 2001 and described as "hysterical and surprisingly sad" by the Daily Express. Ben Hatch was on the long-list of Granta's 2003 list of the most promising 20 young authors in the UK. In association with his wife Dinah, Ben Hatch has also written three guidebooks for Frommer's. Frommer's: Scotland With Your Family, Frommer's: England With Your family, and Frommer's: Britain For Free. The guidebooks are a mixture of helpful and humorous tips on holidaying with children.

Information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites. 

Twitter - Ben Hatch      Amazon Biography


  1. Hi Lindy. I think I came across this book already but not sure if it's I bought it so will have to check my piles of books to see. It sounds to be an interesting read. I'd like to read something right now to make me laugh so I will have a look.

  2. Hi Len, I think you will enjoy this very much but bearing in mind your recent loss, do make sure you are ready to cope with the relationship side of the story. Which by the way I actually found more interesting.

  3. Hi there, the October edition of Books You Loved is live. Here is the link Books You Loved October Edition Please do pop by and link in a post about a book you loved. Maybe this one? Cheers

  4. Thank you for sharing about this book Lindy!
    I think I will enjoy it!

  5. I enjoyed the review Lindy. Are We Nearly There Yet has by accounts been selling really well. However I don't think it is for me. Looking forward to reading more of your reviews. Guy

  6. I enjoyed this one, both the comedy side to it and the more moving, personal story.


  7. Carole@ Thanks for the reminder.

    Diventia@ I hope you do, let me know.

    Lindsay@ Thanks for commenting I will check out your review.


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