This book has been my great travel companion during a recent trip. Although not a literary masterpiece (and does not intend to be one), it is witty, very funny and thought provoking (in the sense that some of Townsend's perception of life stays with you after you finished the book). This is really an assortment of short, 2.5 page long pieces (which appeared as monthly columns on the Sainsbury's Magazine), thus making it a perfect book for travel. The reader has to concentrate for a short while, is able to leave the book and come back later for another part (order is not very important).
And yet, although the pieces are not connected to each other, after a few chapters you feel as if you are reading (or talking to) a familiar person whose life, or rather his life philosophy you are beginning to share and enjoy.
Off course Susan Townsend has chosen what she would like to share with the reader and what to leave out. In fact she swears never to join these columnists who write about their "damned cats" (or family members), etc. only to break this rule time and again, to reader's full enjoyment. Ms. Townsend writes about her writing problems, travels, people she meets, domestic issues and writing problems again... Still, what she writes is close to heart as she always writes about her failures, fashion mistakes, health problems (is there anyone who cannot identify with back pain?), dreams of a better house.... Townsend is always intelligent, and you find yourself laughing out loud. The issues are varied, from a disturbing piece about the behavior of a British tourist during a Greek funeral to having no ideas for this month's column.
I think I liked this book because it was so down to earth, with a very un-assuming approach to living and to yourself.