Home > Young Adult > Mustn’t Grumble. In Search of England and the English by Joe Bennett.

Mustn’t Grumble. In Search of England and the English by Joe Bennett.

May 19, 2020

grumbleMustn’t Grumble. In Search of England and the English by Joe Bennett. Pub.Pocket Books, imprint Simon& Schuster, 2007.

I have had this book about 10 years now and with a dearth of children and YA books on the market right now, I decided to read it. What a joy! It made my heart sing. I do warn you though, if you are an aspiring writer stay away it will totally demoralize you with the class of writing.

The title tells you all you want to know, the text is the evidence. Bennett’s descriptive prose and use of simile and metaphor is outstanding superseded only by his magnificent sense of humour and appreciation of the absurd.

Joe read H.V. Morton’s travel story In Search of England when he was 16years, after 18 years in New Zealand he went back to England to follow the trail of Morton to see how things had changed or remained the same. He finds both.

I will not spoil it for you by telling you much more about what he found but I will tell this story. He borrowed a friends Audi to travel around having found hitch hiking impossible. He wanted to visit a place called Coombe Gibbet where a couple who had murdered children were hung. He stopped to ask a man directions and this is how he described him.  “His accent is not of place but of status. It purrs with income and I hear my own accent revving up through the tax brackets to meet it. I always do that in England….In new Zealand I don’t do it.

If you want to read literature of quality then this is a masterpiece.

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