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1 December 2010

Pies and Prejudice (2007)

I don't know what possessed me to buy this book. I didn't want to read it. But you know what... I'm really glad I did.

Pies and Prejudice is a travel book cum history lesson where we travel with Stuart Maconie as he journeys back up North to his roots from the hustle and bustle of the Big Smoke.

For me, this was a book of two halves. The first half is the best by a long shot. It's a tale of the North West, of Maconie's home turf. I recognised the people and places he talks about. Stu's writing about his home and his passion for it shines through in every line. He just knows stuff that an outsider wouldn't know.

Stu's a Lancashire boy, and I can forgive him for that. I enjoyed his eye for detail and he can turn a nice phrase when he puts his mind to it. The stand out quote in the whole book for me is where Maconie talks about the perception that northerners are 'good-hearted simpletons with alarming dentistry and a penchant for the banjolele.' If you need a photo Stu... just let me know.

And that is where the book should have ended. It wouldn't have been any the worse for it.

Stu's not finished yet though...

In the second half, Stu travels even further North to Newcastle and surrounding areas. My problem with this part of the book is not where he is, just that Stu is obviously out of his comfort zone; He's a tourist.. no longer the local. And the second half reads more like a typical travel-log as a result. I felt that he lost his edge... and my attention started to drift... can you believe that Aggro is out of I'm a Celebrity...

I'm going to give this book a 'buy it now' rating of 7. However, if you can get someone to stump up the money for it, then you should. You know it makes sense!

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