£2.14 (Kindle edition)
The title of Gary Beer’s book suggests an earnest voyage of self-discovery but actually it is comedic.
There are some perceptive and amusing insights: “Why is everything in this country private?”; “if you spend more than $18,000 a year on medication you can join (Pfizer’s) club and get a 10% discount!”; a bank clerk asks him when he offers his passport as id, “Does it have your photograph in it?”; an old sign says “WATTER HEAR”.
Like Bill Byson’s Lost Country it is an epic trip around a nation that is by turns wonderful and completely screwed up. Beer just about manages to retain, or rediscover, his sanity.
He writes in the present tense – very American! This I think leads to a lack of narrative drive. Exclamation marks are used like canned laughter. There are no indents, which is a bit hard on the eye.
But Gary Beer likes Led Zeppelin and Captain Beefheart, which is fine by me.