The Road to Little Dribbling, by Bill Bryson
One predawn Christmas morning many years ago, a carload of travelers could be found laughing on the Jersey Turnpike listening to Bill Bryson’s, A Walk in the Woods on audiotape. The age range on that occasion spanned single digits to octogenarians. Over the intervening years, I have read and reread the many books Bryson has authored, sometimes consuming them in small pieces and other times binging when a large dose of levity was warranted. Recently, the need for levity has reached a critical point and I’ve returned to The Road to Little Dribbling (published 2015) for a few much-needed guffaws. In this autobiographical travelogue sequel, Bryson, an American by birth, follows up his observations of his experiences of working, living and raising a family in England that was portrayed in Notes From A Small Island (published in 1995). He returns to many of the places featured to find that in the intervening two decades, unsurprisingly, much has changed. His ability to be both an observer and participant of and in British life gives his writing a unique perspective. Although he does appear more curmudgeonly in Little Dribbling, I can readily relate to the experience of returning to a place spent in my youth as an older (and sourer) adult! If you want a break from the daily doom and gloom, try this (or really any of his) book(s). Bryson's skill as a wordsmith and his extreme cynicism make this a comic tour de force.