Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book Review - The Tent, The Bucket and Me

I had stumbled across this book recently whilst looking for road maps of France to take on my travels. Having gone on a few camping holidays as a kid with my parents in the late 70s and early 80s, the subject matter appealed to me. I do love toilet humour (written about quite literally in this case) and although funny in the most part, if a little repetitive (they decide where to go holiday, set off, set up camp, experience a disaster or two, then abandon the holiday and head for home), the writing style is somewhat bizarre.

The events which are described took place in the mid- to late-seventies and although Emma does state from that outset that the stories are drawn from interviews with her parents along with, I assume, other family members, their recall for conversations and incidents from almost 40 years ago seems very precise. The descriptions and insights the author gives about the incidents make up most of the narrative and seem mostly to be interpretations of someone much older describing events rather than recalling them from memory. As such, it feels a little distant at times. I didn't really warm to any of the people and felt that I was literally just reading re-written interviews in the form of individual stories. The fact also that she refers to her parents both by their names and as mother, father, mum and dad, and also refers to her grandmother as mam, is very confusing at times and makes you wonder whose "memory" you are actually reading.

Having said all that though, the events described are often hilarious and at times humourously cringeworthy. It left me wondering why on earth this particular family ever bothered to go camping again after their first attempt, let alone go camping every single summer for a decade!

Here is a feature about the book from the Daily Mail Online.

Hopefully, her second book, describing more recent camping experiences, will be based a little more upon her own memories.

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