I’m a Stranger Here MyselfPosted: 2008/12/09
Bryson, Bill. I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away. New York: Broadway Books, 1999.
I was skeptical of this book. The premise is Bryson has been away from American soil for twenty years (living in England) and the book is supposedly his running commentary on how different everything has become. Right off the bat I wanted to ask, “What? They didn’t have ATM machines or public pay phones in England? Not even by the time Mr. Bryson left?” I have to admit, it never crossed my mind that England could be twenty years behind the U.S. in such things as technology and invention.
In actuality, Bryson’s book was, in a word, delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed his opening essay about the differences between English and American postal services. However, for the most part the comparisons ended there. It was more about how nonsensical America could be with it’s rules and regulations. It reminded me of Robert Fulghum with his humorous observations.
“Going to a restaurant is generally a discouraging experience for me because I always manage somehow to antagonize the waitress” (p 13).
“It is all immensely complicated, but essentially it means that practically every team in baseball except the Chicago Cubs gets a chance to go to the World Series” (p 25).
“He converses as if he has heard that someday he will be billed for it” (p 93). Sounds like my father!
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lustin the chapter, “Bill Bryson: Too Good to Miss” (p 36).