The best-loved comedian in Britain hits the most famous highway in the world on an unforgettable journey.
Billy Connolly, music-lover, biker, and scourge of the beige and bland the world over, has dreamed about taking a trip on the legendary Route 66 since he first heard Chuck Berry belting out one of the greatest rock 'n' roll records of all time. And now he's finally had the chance to do it, heading out on his custom-made trike in search of the real America that can still be found beyond the nation's freeways. Travelling every one of its 2,278 miles from the skyscrapers of Chicago to Santa Monica Pier in California, Billy's journey takes him past many of the essential icons of the United States: the Gateway Arch in St Louis, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon, and the funky neon-lit gas stations and diners that once lined the route. But it also gives him the chance to get to know the people who call it home, from Mervin the Amish carpenter, to fellow banjo enthusiast and obsessive instrument collector Rob, to Angel, one of the many people determined to keep the spirit of the Mother Road alive. Funny, touching and inspiring in equal measure, the tales he gathers on the way tell the story of modern America. And they might inspire a few people to get on their bikes as well.
With his unrivalled instinct for a good story, and the gregariousness that has made him our most engaging national treasure, Billy Connolly is the ultimate guide to the ultimate road trip.
This is a pretty good telling of a very aspirational adventure. Voice acting is satisfyingly Scottish sounding. Connolly shows some mild cynicism and Hollywood elitism that knocks it down a bit, but it's not too terribly overbearing.
Unfortunately, in afraid he will interpret "unbearably liberal" as a compliment if he ever reads this. It would be impossible to list all the ways this book disappoints so I'll limit it to only a few. First off, he constantly insults Christianity and really all religions. From literally making fun of Christian beliefs to going out of his way to describe Timothy McVeigh as a religious fanatic he constantly paints religious people as stupid, violent and useless. He goes so far as to be bewildered when he runs across someone he thought was intelligent, then discovered they attend church and trying to reconcile how that could be.
His politics rear their ugly head constantly. From saying we should spend government money on art not national defense to a long tangent on his great releasing wild wolves is (not one baby Elk or moose has survived in Yellowstone since their reintroduction) to countless other examples.
Further, he tells you multiple times not to visit the beautiful places he has been to because you will ruin them. Just watch his show, listen to his description and "leave it at that."
I am now less excited about my own 66 trip next year than ever before. Billy starts every description of a place or attracting by saying how great it was and then the remainder of the time he breaks that thing down, describing how dead and pitiful it is. He describes anything uniquely 66 as "tacky'." I thought it was odd a foreigner would describe the most American thing ever to us, how would be "get it?" Well... he certainly does not get it. He thinks he does (it seems he thinks he knows everything) but he does not.
He takes advantage of countless friendly, helpful people on his trip and then describes how pitiful they are or says not to go to their shop when you take the trip. If you're hoping it will be funny because he's a comedian you'll also be disappointed. In fact you will be sadder the longer you listen.
I am entirely disappointed in this book.
Where does Billy Connolly's Route 66 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I would like to give this book 3.5 stars but since Audible doesn't allow that I will bump it up to 4. I am a huge Billy Connolly fan and was quite let down that he wasn't the narrator. His accent and trademark infectious enthusiasm would have bolstered this book quite a bit. The narrator wasn't bad, I was just left thinking Mr Connolly would have been better......nay perfect!
Mr. Connolly has an interesting way of looking at things. His viewpoint and the fact that he is coming from another land and background really sheds some unique light on the American road trip experience. It made me look and think about my country in a different way, at least for a moment.
What three words best describe James McPherson’s performance?
It was a good performance, but the author is a famous comedian with a wonderful accent and intonation. It would have been nice to hear his words in his voice. I would listen to other books by this narrator.
Any additional comments?
Its an interesting listen. The book has humor and levity. He meets a wide variety of people and has experiences to match. I think the book could have been/should have been longer. I would be interested in more travel book written from his point of view.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
unless Billy himself had read his book for this performance. The reader was excellent, with an impressive command of various accents. that said, I'm far too great a fan of Billy's not to have lamented his absence on the audio. I was delighted to hear his account of the history of my hometown. I had good nice to think he had driven through my town just miles away from where I was probably standing at the time, and I hadn't been able to give him a cup of tea or a big hug. I loved hearing about all the history and anecdotes and marvelous characters he met along the way. I have lived right near Route 66 for most of my adult life, and it take in a few trips along parts of the route. I love the idea that he and I have seen the same things, & I wish I could call him to tell him what he missed. I found the book beautifully personal, just funny enough, and delightful all round.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
This isnt so much about route 66 as it is of the authors agenda.
He constantly bashes religion and people he mets along the way (if
they don't have his beliefs). The author is supposed to be a comic
, but he isn't funny in the least.
2 of 10 people found this review helpful
The main problem I found with this title was the decision to use someone else instead of Billy to narrate. Often this ploy works fine (Bill Nighy doing an outstanding job on Eric Clapton's biog as an example). But Billy Connolly's unique style and presentation make him impossible to replace, and I'm afraid James McPherson really is not up to the job. Okay, he at least doesn't try to impersonate Mr Connolly, but his delivery is very flat, not a hint of the energy and boyish excitement you get from the man himself.
And why oh why did McPherson attempt an American accent whenever he's speaking on behalf of the people Billy meets on his travels? Not only is his accent awful but he also uses the same one for every character!
A shame really, as I'm sure if Billy had done the job himself the end result would've been much better.
I guess I'll wait for the DVD
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
would be better if it was read by Billy himself. as he is so engaging.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Might be me but I just couldn't get into this book. I listened for some 3+ hours in case but eventually I just had to turn it off.
Don't get me wrong. I have enjoyed Billy's books in the past, and his biography is totally wonderful!
This one didn't do it for me,,, but that's only my view.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful