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I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away

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Bill Bryson

6 Hours 0 Minutes

Random House (Audio)

July 2000

Audio Book Summary

A classic from the New York Times bestselling author of A Walk in the Woods and The Body.

After living in Britain for two decades, Bill Bryson recently moved back to the United States with his English wife and four children (he had read somewhere that nearly 3 million Americans believed they had been abducted by aliens—as he later put it, 'it was clear my people needed me'). They were greeted by a new and improved America that boasts microwave pancakes, twenty-four-hour dental-floss hotlines, and the staunch conviction that ice is not a luxury item.

Delivering the brilliant comic musings that are a Bryson hallmark, I'm a Stranger Here Myself recounts his sometimes disconcerting reunion with the land of his birth. The result is a book filled with hysterical scenes of one man's attempt to reacquaint himself with his own country, but it is also an extended if at times bemused love letter to the homeland he has returned to after twenty years away.

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  • Rick Spiegle

    Bill Bryson is my favorite writer. He has a fabulous sense of humor and puts words together in the most artistic manner. I rarely laugh out loud alone in my car. This book often had me laughing to and from work. I rented it and I had to buy it to share with friends.

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  • Anonymous

    I love Bryson's writing and I love his narration. Funny, sweet, interesting. Delightful audio!

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  • tonywony

    Bill Bryson is always a funny writer. I enjoyed this book. He has other books that I liked better.

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  • Steve Y

    In the past, I've enjoyed Bryson. But, this one was appropriately described by his wife as "bitch, bitch, bitch." It gets old, especially when he is trashing our (and his) country and in particular his disparaging remark concerning one of our greatest presidents. And he compares us to Great Britian?...where you have to have a license for a TV set---please. His Darwinist, liberal agenda becomes more and more pronounced with each selection. I understand he moved back to England. Good.

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  • wlh2040

    This was classic Bill Bryson! I'd love to have this guy as my next-door neighbor! Sometimes, he just points out the obvious, or asks questions about things that people just generally never consider asking. His humor is droll, but in a good way. Some of the other reviews observed that toward the end he tended to complain a bit. While this is true, I cannot imagine having to author a newspaper column for three years about the differences between these United States and Britain. Eventually, you are forced to conclude there simply aren't that many differences (not three years worth, anyway). If you have read any of his other books, you will love this one as well. Occasionally, he does tend to insert his politically left-leaning viewpoints on things, but then the poor soul did live in a much more socialist country for 20 years...

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  • Alison Kaplan

    I hadn't read or heard of Bryson before this and wasn't sure what to expect. At times his storytelling was laugh out loud funny and for the most part I enjoyed his point of view. I lived in England for a year, so I could relate, but ultimately I think this is best listened to in small doses. I found that after an hour his attitude started to wear on me. Although I enjoy a sense of humor that is on the dry and sarcastic side, his attitude also started to take on a negativity and curmudgeonly tone that bothered me at points.

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  • Charles Black

    Bryson has a dry sense of humor that I find entertaining. This is a good look at ourselves. After I heard this book I started back on A Walk in the Woods, and am enjoying it this time.

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  • Tonytoga

    By 'sick' of course, I mean his has a twisted since of humor and if I could buy his illness with money, I'd take out a loan if I had to to get it. Bill Bryson peers out at the world through a differently cut glass than the rest of us and this, his 'coming home' tone is vintage Bryson. I loved the way he always refers to his wife as "Mrs. Bryson." It's a British thing I'm sure. This isn't his best work in my opinion (hard to be beat "In a Sunburned Country") but it's cleaverly written and is, I think, a good reflection of our Mr. Bryson arriving at a more mature age.

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  • Anonymous

    I would rank this as a distant third behind "A Short History of Nearly Everything" and "A Walk in the Woods". Some of the insights are funny but many are kind of dated and cliche. The self described (or more accurately wife described) "bitching" gets pretty old towards the end of the book. Still probably worth a listen but not nearly as good as the first two books I mentioned.

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  • Anonymous

    This was a great book, if you have read anything else by Bill Bryson it is one of his good ones, although all of his are good ones in my book. He makes you think, laugh, cry. A great book, I would recommend it to anyone, easy to listen to.

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