I learnt quite a bit whilst reading this book – although I think I could probably name every state, and had a general idea of where each one was located, I previously couldn’t tell you much about them. For instance, I never had any idea that Wisconsin and Minnesota were cold states. Fry creates a pretty clear picture of each landscape that he travels through, enough to make me want to visit several states that I previously knew nothing about. He also covers some less well-known (and very unappealing) places, such as a body farm in Tennessee, used to study how the human body decomposes in various conditions.
Whilst being the sort of travel fiction that I enjoy – factual, yet witty, enough information to interest but not too bogged down – this felt a bit sparse. I think it is very much a companion to the series rather than something you could read by itself; there just isn’t enough information on each state, I think the most is about four pages.
Personally, I would’ve loved a proper book about Stephen’s trip – especially coming from such a humourous, talented person – but I guess this just wasn’t it. It’s definitely more of a ‘coffee table’ book (as one of my lecturers used to refer to big hardbacks with pretty photos), that you might flick through, or pick out certain bits to read.
I do definitely now want to watch the series (it’s not as long as I believed it was) – but perhaps I’ll skip through part of Tennessee…