The second Bill Bryson book that I have read now. The first was ‘A walk in the woods’, which I really enjoyed. Mr Bryson has a keen eye for character observation and retells the peculiarities of people in an engaging and slightly biting way. I like his satire, had tears running down my face reading this book.
In regards to ‘Down Under’, I live in the great Island Continent of Australia. Way down in Adelaide, where Mr Bryson only stayed a 2 days, but he is knowledgeable about our home. He knew the famous geologist Mr Reg Spriggs of Andamooka fame and where now a private mining company wants to plant a huge mine. Having been to the Flinders for a family jaunt in July staying at the famous Wilpena Pound, I can attest to the amazing almost savage beauty of the country of the Admyanathanha people and it should be left alone. But I digress.
‘Down Under’ was an engaging read, I enjoyed reading it – mostly. It does appear to be a catalogue of the great perils and dangers that exist in Australia, and I truly thought that Bill Bryson was deriving some deliciously devilish pleasure at expounding this large catalogue. It is true, Australia is a pretty unique place when it comes to creatures that might bite, sting, poison, maul or devour you. However, this is not something an Australian worries about; having said that I am completely an utterly paranoid about Sharks and living in South Australia I feel slightly justified in my phobia. I always tell my husband when he buys a lotto ticket that he is just increasing my chances of getting eaten by a shark – statistically you have more chance of being eaten by a white pointer than winning lotto!! It is interesting that Bill Bryson didn’t focus more on the shark, I think he was too shocked by the crocodile stories.
So as a way of summing up my first book – do I need a criteria…hmmm haven’t thought that one through. This could be an evolving thing.
Readability 8.5 out of 10
Can’t put down rating 8 out of 10
Recommend to others 7 out of 10
Do I want to read another book by this author – yes.
Book #2 in progress. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.