Bill Bryson stumbles across a secret door leading to a rooftop space with a magnificent view of the village from his residence in Norfolk. This also makes Bill to see his home in a different light. On musing, house is where the history ends up. Hence, Bill writes a novel exploring the phenomenon named home. During this journey, Bill explores all the rooms inside his Norfolk home - the hall, the kitchen, the scullery and larder, the fusebox, the drawing room, the dining Room, the cellar, the passage, the study, the garden, the plum room, the stairs, the bedroom, the bathroom, the dressing room, the nursery and attic. He spares none.
The major drawback of the book is the lack of structure. The contents of the books are the various rooms mentioned above. A glance at the contents is enough to realize how challenging it is to tell a story connecting these different elements. Bill takes us from one room to another. But, he fails to build a structure inside each chapter on the room. As a result, some of the chapters deals with the evolution in a structured way while others tends to be a sprinkling of anecdotes.
Despite the lack of structure, what surprises a reader is the painstaking research undertaken to write this book. The research combined with Bill’s witty language makes this a pleasant read. The clever usage of adjectives to describe decades and centuries of history brings out a smile on the reader’s lips. The book may appear intimidating because of the size. More than 25% of the book is dedicated to Bibliography.
Forget the structural deformities. Take up the book. You will surely be surprised.
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