Book Review - The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island

BILL BRYSON'S 1995 travelogue around the UK, Notes From a Small Island: Journey Through Britain, was a hilarious frolic filled with anecdotes and his signature point of view on things. It was highly praised and became an instant classic.

The Road to Little Dribbling is more of the same, but in a good way.

Some 20 years after the first book, this former journalist decides to take another trip across Britain, this time on a route he dubs the Bryson Line – from the seaside resort of Bognor Regis in West Sussex on the south of England to Cape Wrath in the Highlands of Scotland, considered the most north-westerly point in mainland Britain.

Reading the book, you soon forget that the writer is American. His rhetoric, charm, wit, and masterly use of the English language is a result of spending 20 years of his life in England writing for various publications.

Hard to put down, it reads like how we all romanticise our travels would be like – carefree and full of musings.

Although his tale meanders like a story told by an old friend over a cup of tea – pointing out the idiotic, the wonderful, and all the things that did not stay the same – Bryson never strays too far.

It is also charming that he pays close attention to detailing the history of the figures and subjects he comes across during his travel.

He also keeps his accounts relatable by pointing out his own failings, bewilderments and grumpiness, but his insight, passion, and evident research are infectious and enthralling.

In some ways, the book also doubles as his autobiography as Bryson recalls and reminisces about his life on this “small island” he once called home.

The Road to Little Dribbling is certainly a worthy companion to the first book, one that not only could stand alone but also complete his story.