Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson Book Review

Notes from a Small Island

Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson is a non-fiction travelogue that follows the American author as he travels around Great Britain one last time before returning to the USA.

Written in 1995, as a way of temporarily bidding farewell to a place he’d called home for two decades, Notes from a Small Island takes us on a proverbial trip down memory lane. We join Bryson in exploring a quirky and captivating version of the UK, that we’re unlikely to get from anyone else.

The novel is filled with facts, figures, kooky characters and Bryson’s own observations about British life and culture. Bryson uses his perspective as an American to examine life and culture in the UK in comparison to America. He also uses the small towns and villages he visits to discuss British cultures, such as their people, food and weather.

The book is written in a self-deprecating honest style, and draws on Bryson’s own experiences of growing up in a small town. It is a love letter to the United Kingdom, and is a fascinating insight into a small island, brimming with history and stories.

What I Liked

I loved this book even though it was 20 years old before I read it. Since Bryson is traveling around his home country, he is free to really lean into cultural nuance and make jokes that, if made by a visitor, would come across as mean. I also love that the book is part history in a way since it captures a part of Britain that, like rural America, has mostly disappeared in the last 20 years.

What I Did Not Like

Not a whole lot. If someone had never read Bryson, I wouldn’t start with it since it’s a bit aggressive and raw in parts, but it’s a classic part of his collection of travel books.

Share via...

Similar Posts