Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Travel Narrative
Approximate word count: 55-60,000 words
Availability Kindle: YES Nook: YES Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon or B&N store
Allie Sommerville lives on an island off the south coast of England. Every trip begins with an expensive ferry ride to the mainland. This is her first book. For more visit the author’s website.
The author, her husband, and sometimes their children traipse around Europe in a mechanically challenged campervan.
I love reading travel narratives. It seems most fit in two categories. The first are those that are upfront about focusing on the difficulties that often come with travel. The other kind take a more positive tone, emphasizing the wonderful people, places, and things the author experienced. In reality, the two types aren’t that different. Both have positive experiences. Both have difficulties to overcome. The main difference is how the difficulties are presented - as adventures or opportunities for humor.
You could guess Uneasy Rider falls in the opportunity for humor category. If you didn’t, the subtitle, Confessions of a Reluctant Traveller, should make it obvious. Each chapter is a story that can stand alone. Each either focuses on a theme or relates a particular incident. For example, one chapter discusses the difficulties finding campgrounds for the night while another focuses on a night spent at a particular hotel in Spain. Although most of the stories come from a handful of long trips, they aren’t chronological. Once you set your expectations accordingly, Uneasy Rider is a pleasurable armchair excursion.
The Sommerville family experiences all the negatives of travel, giving the reader opportunity to laugh at their expense while you learn about the areas they traveled and the cultures they experienced. Although Ms. Sommerville would have us believe she was a reluctant traveler, when I finished the final story I couldn’t help wondering if she would really give up all the positive experiences to have avoided the difficulties. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
The author, who is from the UK, uses British expressions and spellings. I was surprised the time she mentioned a specific temperature to see it expressed in Fahrenheit. After asking a few UK residents, I found it is common for those who grew up using Fahrenheit temperatures to continue doing so in spite of the change to Celsius as the official standard. This is a positive for us Americans who wouldn’t have a clue what to wear if the temperature is 20 degrees Celsius.
I found no significant proofing or typo issues. The book has some footnotes, which are explained at the end of each chapter. It appeared clicking on the footnote would take you to the explanation, however it didn’t. This would have been nice to have, but is far from a serious issue.
Rating: **** Four stars