Title: I’m a Stranger Here Myself
Author: Bill Bryson
Audiobook length: 9 hrs 16 min
Release Date: June 06, 2000
Source: personal copy
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.
Is there such a thing as a Bill Bryson book that isn’t entertaining? This one is a collection of newspaper columns written for a British newspaper once Bryson returned home to the U.S. The book was published in 2000, and the columns were published prior to that, so a few of them now read as dated (like a few comments about the state of pre-9/11 air travel). But not as many as you might think. There was only one that I didn’t care for, and it was an entire fake tax return. It may have been funny in print, but it didn’t translate well over audio. I wouldn’t consider this book to be as educational as some of his other efforts, but it was a fun listen.
- “This is the sort of book that makes me stop my family and force them to listen to bits that I can hardly read to them without laughing.” — Sonderbooks
- “I felt like only about half of the chapters were even relevant to the theme.” — Always Packed for Adventure
- “More than just meditations on dental floss and the peril of haircuts, I’m a Stranger Here Myself is an exploration of one man’s struggle to reacquaint himself with the land of his childhood.” — Libereading