As a fan of the audio version of Pure Drivel, I was surprised to hear Martin read this memoir in such a cold manner. I generally prefer works read by their authors because of the sophisticated judgment of inflection and tone that the creator can give his own words, and I heard none of that here. The content is interesting enough, and was not written to be humorous, but Martin treats it as if it were a set of airline safety regulations rather than a fragment of his own life. There is none of the warmth and joviality I normally associate with his reading. Forewarned is forearmed--look to this work only if you have a specific interest in Steve Martin, otherwise consider the much more genial Alan Alda memoir regarding his stuffed dog.
I would recommend Neither Here Nor There with reservations, because the actual traveling-around-Europe portion of the book is exactly what I wanted from Bryson. Unfortunately, he indulges too much in digressions where he displays quite unlovable character traits, some of which include:
-despising all dogs and most animals in general
-shameless objectification of women
-defending his complete lack of remorse over beating up the fat kid in his middle school.
In a travel book, I seek to identify with the author so that I may see the places he goes through his eyes. Bryson's digressions make this very difficult, and it is hard to understand why his editor permitted them to remain in the work, since they are so extraneous to the purpose of the work.
I think there is a book that covers his ORIGINAL trip through Europe with Katz, and as a fan of A Walk In The Woods, I'm curious about that one.
Bryson freely admits being completely ignorant of all non-English languages, except for mostly-forgotten lesson in school. Despite this, Roberts continually indulges in heavy accents and pronunciations that feel false in the context that Bryson has created.
Nope. I don't want to tempt Bryson into deeper navel-gazing, since this book took him to some pretty dark places already.
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