5 Jun 2014



SOURCE: Ex-library stock.

THE BOOK {According to the back cover}: Overcome with patriotic fervour, New Zealander Justin Brown bets an Australian mate that the All Blacks will thrash the Wallabies in an up-coming match. 

They don't. 

Forced to pay his debt, Justin has to busk his way around England until he earns enough money for his airfare home. Armed with a black duffel coat and a guitar he travels the country in mid-winter, knocking on doors and singing for his supper.

Along the way he meets gypsies, drinks with Britain's most famous busker, harasses carol singers, plucks turkeys, speaks to J.K.Rowling and gets told to sod off 357 times.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1: The Bet}: door-to-door busker n. one who goes door to door, singing, hoping not to be told to bugger off. See: beggar, bum, hobo, peddlar, homeless Kiwi idiot.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 166}:  After taking up three minutes of her precious time, I now felt I had to justify not only why I was standing at her front door with a guitar, but also why I was acting like some brainless, Neanderthal chimp attempting amateur charades. 

MY THOUGHTS: Described as 'Travel Writing' which according to about.com is defined as 'a form of creative nonfiction in which the narrator's encounters with foreign places serve as the dominant subject'. On these grounds I suppose UK On A G-String is indeed rightfully categorised but in my opinion it takes more than a writer recalling how much the people of certain places responded to his busking door-to-door, harassing them for money, in order to pass as such. 

For a book that could have been a tremendously quirky and very different kind of 'travelogue' I'm afraid I found the whole thing ludicrous, the writing conceited and amateurish, the narrative repetitive (given how many times the author wondered about the possibility of 'being beaten up' though not a violent person by the end I almost wished someone had punched him) and as for it being humorous? Well, lets just say I didn't manage a smile let alone a laugh but then I suspect that this is a book that will probably appeal more to a male audience.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper. All original content on http://pettywitter.blogspot.co.uk/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission.


Kelly said...

I'm not sure this would have appealed to me to start with, but your review clinched it. Not one for my wish list.

Lindsay said...

Oh no what a shame it was so disappointing when it sounded like it might be quite fun. Thanks as always for a good honest review though Tracy.

Literary Feline said...

I wonder what I would do or think if someone knocked on my door and offered to sing and play a guitar for me for money. Do people still do that?

It's too bad this book wasn't better because the premise actually sounds quite interesting and like it should be funny. Oh well.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

Oh dear, after reading the synopsis I was hoping for a glowing recommendation. Too bad.

Suko said...

I like quirky but I don't like conceited. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts, Tracy!

Alexia561 said...

I know it's not for me if you were wishing that someone had punched him! Hope your next read is better!

Melliane said...

oh that's sad even if the idea was good at first... I don't think it will be for me.

Brian Joseph said...

Too bad that this was such a disappointment. As you allude to it sounds as if this book had enormous potential to be entertaining as well as say something really worthwhile.

Gina R said...

First off, I admit I was concerned about the title until I saw the cover. One of those "some words mean different things" situations. Trepidation aside, your review was wonderful as always but I do believe I will be skipping this one myself.

Sherry Ellis said...

It definitely sounds more like a guy book.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

LOL! I'm not a violent person either but can identify when you say you want to smack a character. :) Don't think this is for me, but enjoyed your review!

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy

Ah! ... but that cover is so funky, don't you think?

Don't worry, I haven't gone mad. This still isn't a book which would appeal to me in any way, shape or form.

I don't read non fiction unless it is reference material, I don't agree with anyone going door to door unsolicited and if her had caught me on a bad day it wouldn't have been humourous for either of us ... he would probably have ended up in A&E after being beaten up and I would have ended up in jail!!

I like and admire the levels of honesty you feel able to bring to a review ... better luck with the next book,


Aunt Mary said...

Great review , thank's Tracy :)