Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Book Review: Five Hundred Mile Walkies

Five Hundred Mile Walkies is the true and highly humourous Tale of a man and a borrowed dog walking the south west peninsula path through Devon and Cornwall in order to impress a girl that the author met at a party. Such a mundane premise may sound like it has little to offer, but Wallington has a real knack of finding the farcical side of every situation and developing it into an hilarious aside. Added to that, the author combines a rather literary style with the common touch and the result is a very readable story but not one that is dumbed down.

Wallington himself compares his tale to that of Jerome K. Jerome in "Three men and a Boat", and his style is highly reminiscent of this famous book. More importantly, it compares very favourably to "Three Men and a Boat", but, similarly to that and many other humourous books, much of the fun and laughter occurs in the early part of the tale and towards the end it appears as if the author gets rather tired of writing.

The addition of the dog, Boogie, is one that may divide readers, however. Boogie's flatulence provides a running joke throughout the book and for some this may be a constant source of amusement, although for others such a cheap and repetative joke becomes a little stale.

These downfalls aside Five Hundred Mile Walkies is a very funny book and for some reason I was particularly amused by the excursion through Westward Ho! - the only place in Britain that has an exclaimation mark in its name.

I recommend this story to lovers of humour and travel literature, and it serves well as a light read between more challenging material whilst maintaining a semi-literary style.

Score: 8.5/10

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