Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Free Country / George Mahood

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Travel Narrative

Approximate word count: 95-100,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Married with a young daughter, when he’s not attempting wild travel adventures, George Mahood lives in England and works as a photographer. If you’re in England and interested in hiring him, visit his website.


In this true life adventure, George and his buddy Ben take a trip many have done, biking “the length of Britain,” from the bottom of England to the top of Scotland, a trip of about 1,000 miles. But they add their own twist, starting their adventure with nothing except a pair of Union Jack boxer shorts. No bikes, no money, almost no clothes — nothing to help them on their way except their begging skills and faith in the charity of their countrymen and countrywomen.


A subset of travel narratives I especially enjoy are those where the travelers have a specific goal, often just making it from point A to point B (where that is a challenge). I’ve read the tales of several hikers who have gone end to end on the Appalachian or Pacific Coast trails. Tim Cahill’s book, Road Fever, chronicled the ultimate road trip, from the tip of South America to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (as far north as any road goes in North America).

George Mahood could have conceivably written a worthwhile book if he’d just biked the length of Britain with his friend Ben. The challenges (and tales of overcoming them) along with the people they met and places they saw while traveling off the beaten path might have been enough. That they went further, starting with virtually nothing, not even bikes or clothes (except two pairs of Union Jack boxer shorts), upped the stakes and gave a deeper insight into their countrymen and countrywomen. It’s an adventure worth reading about.
Mahood also has a great sense of humor in his writing, which allows (almost insists) that you don’t suffer with Ben and him, but laugh at and with them. Rather than vicariously experiencing embarrassment and frustration, this lightens the story, and makes it an even more fun read.


Some adult language. Uses UK spelling conventions and slang.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four stars

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