Bang In the Middle
10th April 2014
HarperCollins UK, HarperPress/4th Estate/The Friday Project
A book to put the Midlands back on the map.
Everyone knows what they think of the North and South of England – the clichés abound. But what about that big, anonymous stretch of land in between: the Midlands? Despite being home to around a third of the English population, it’s a region that seems to have neither purpose nor identity. In this humorous exploration, the author – a Midlander exiled in London – sets off on a tour of the country’s belly in order to piece together his Midland heritage. What he discovers is nothing short of revelatory: quietly, without fanfare, the Midlands have powered most of English – and not just a little of world – history.
The Industrial Revolution was forged there, as were the ideals of the Land of the Free and the theory of evolution. Shakespeare, world literature’s greatest genius, was born in the Midlands, as were Margaret Thatcher, Dr Johnson and Robbie Williams. It is the home of Robin Hood, Walker’s crisps, Marmite, Raleigh bikes and the balti. And that’s not all: music, fashion, sport – almost every domain of contemporary life has been reinvented and remoulded in the stoically self-effacing lands squeezed between the self-mythologising South and the narcissistic North. Why, we even have the Midlands to thank for the modern idea of sex. Join Robert Shore on a fascinating, and very funny, journey to the heart of our great nation.
3 Stars Out of 5 Stars
I got this as an ARC from Netgalley. So thank you to HarperCollins UK, HarperPress/4th Estate/The Friday Project, Robert Shore and Netgalley.
Firstly, I love that the description of the book and cover are beautiful. Like whoa, “A book to put the Midlands back on the map.”
Yup. That’s how you blurb a book :) However, I have to admit it wasn’t my style of a book. From the blurb, I understood that it was a book about travelling/journeys. What's more, it was under the travel section of Netgalley so I thought that it would be a travel guide. As such, I thought that there would be pictures, more colors, and maps. Either the ARC that I was given did not have such illustrations, etc or there just were never any illustrations. I feel that since this under the travel section of netgalley (And I believed based on the blurb that this was sort of a travel guide, sort of. Until I read the book, and then even though it wasn’t what I expected, I hoped to see some pictures at least.
However, after getting over the above, I feel that the writer does have some pretty good points which I think are worth talking about. The fact that he writes in 1st POV lets us see through the lens of the writer and feel like we are going on this journey too. Also, the way he writes really gives us a big idea about what is/was happening and his various thoughts. As this book is not my cup of tea, but it was indeed a pretty interesting read and I did learn a lot along his journey, therefore, I choose to give it 3 stars.