Non-fiction – hardcover; Time Warner Books; 320 pages; 2004.
I’m often not very quick off the mark at the best of times, but when it came to discovering the wonder that is the 20,000 mile road trip from London to New York (the long way round) undertaken by actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman I am positively turtle-like.
This book, published in late 2004, accompanies the 10-part television documentary of the motorbiking adventure, now available here in the UK on DVD. I recently watched the DVD and fell immediately in love with it, so much so I promptly tracked down a secondhand copy of the book to immerse myself in.
The book, narrated in turn by McGregor and Boorman, is delightful. Easy to read. Funny. Sad. Full of adventure. It fills in a lot of the gaps not evident when watching the TV series — you get a more rounded view of what makes these men tick and how their relationship was tried and tested during the journey. You also get a good insight into the tensions between the two riders and their support crew, who generally followed a few days behind and got into their own difficulties along the way.
As a stand alone read, I’m not sure whether Long Way Round would have been as enjoyable. For instance, there are constant gripes, moans and whinges scattered on every page that might be off-putting if you have not experienced the joy of the documentary.
Still, it’s a great read about a courageous adventure and if you’ve ever wondered what it must be like to pursue a dream and then turn it into reality, then you’ll enjoy this book. And you don’t even have to love motorbikes to appreciate it!