“Are We Nearly There Yet?” is Ben Hatch’s very honest account of the five months he, his wife and two very young children spent driving eight thousand miles around Britain in a Vauxhall Astra, visiting several attractions a day and staying in a different hotel each night. Commissioned to write a guidebook, Ben and his wife, Dinah, believe this madness to be a pretty good idea when they set off in a clean smelling car and a fresh supply of baby wipes, but it’s not long before reality kicks with severe doubts about the sanity of taking on such a mission.
I don’t know whether it’s fairer to say that this family was really brave, or rather just completely crazy, but their adventures certainly make hilarious reading! The book was a great combination of tourist guide, car toddler feeding manual – Organix biscuits yes, strawberries, definitely no, and where to find a medium sized toy rabbit that can walk and talk and says ‘chut chut chut’ when chewing a carrot.
I enjoyed the little unedited sections intended for the completed guidebook in some form or another, and the passages about the author’s father’s illness and eventual passing away were extremely touching in their candour. Hatch’s honesty in general when discussing his family and their experiences was very refreshing, although perhaps his misadventures with his toothbrush were a touch too graphic!
‘Are We Nearly There yet?’ kept me alternating between laughing out loud and close to tears. Hatch’s tales were very entertaining and certainly original. I can’t say that I have any inclination to follow in the author’s footsteps, but I would love to read the resulting guidebook and discover whether Dinah ever really forgave Ben for scaring her half to death when they stayed in a supposedly haunted castle. This book really would be an ideal gift for any parent - we’ve all had rotten days out with the kids, but not for five months straight!