You’ve Gone Too Far This Time, Sir!

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You've Gone Too Far This Time, Sir! - Danny Bent, book reviewYou’ve Gone Too Far This Time, Sir! is the true account of Danny Bent’s journey from the UK to India…by bike. Inspired by teaching his class about underprivileged children in a village in India, he decided to go there to teach and help the children. When one of the children in his class in the UK asked how he planned to get there, his first thought was to reply “Plane, of course”, but he realised that by doing that he could undo a lot of the good work he had done in teaching the class about environmental issues. So he said he would cycle…

The journey is nothing short of epic. India is far away – even by plane. To travel there by a non-motorised form of transport is a huge undertaking, through Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Pakistan among other place. Bent had only his bike and what supplies he could carry on it – and he had to unpack a lot only a few days into the journey in Europe as he realised the weight was too much for him.

Bent is an enjoyable narrator, awed by the sights he sees and very kind about all the friendly people he meets along the way. He also knows his own limits, and knows that he is often an object of amusement with his red hair and non-cyclist build legs. He faces several dangerous situations, yet his writing is amusing even through these.

For me, there was a very obvious comparison to be made once Bent had left Western Europe – with Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boorman’s Long Way Round motorcycle journey. They are on different forms of transport, Bent is alone while Ewan and Charley had each other and a nearby support crew, and Long Way Round was destined to be a TV show, but they pass through a lot of the same places and share the same reactions to many things.

You’ve Gone Too Far is a book which is right up my street, a story of an amazing journey where the reader feels like they are able to experience everything along with the traveller. Like Ewan and Charley, Bent is engaging and humorous, and brings the places he visits to life. There are, however, a few issues with his writing which mean I couldn’t enjoy this book as fully as I would have liked.

Firstly, there are regular grammatical errors through the book. These are not constant, but regular enough to be noticed and become irritating. The wrong spelling of a word is often used, for example bare instead of bear. The first few weren’t a problem, but as I came to expect them it became irritating and detracted slightly from my enjoyment of the book.

A less frequent but more problematic issue was Bent’s coherence. There were a few occasions where I felt I had missed something – in one paragraph he was in one place and with certain people, then in the next he seemed to have reached somewhere else or met some new people with no introduction at all. Each time this happened I went back to see if I had skipped a paragraph, but no, he had just missed out some information.

The story of You’ve Gone Too Far This Time, Sir! is an amazing one which is fascinating to read – Bent’s journey was a huge achievement. However, the book could really have done with some editing; I read the Kindle edition (I got it free but it is still a bargain at its current price of 69p) and I’m unsure as to whether it was self-published, but I do think a bit more proofreading would have made all the difference between an enjoyable book and a brilliant book. Recommended, as long as you can overlook the writing issues.

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You’ve Gone Too Far This Time, Sir!
by Danny Bent

2 Comments on "You’ve Gone Too Far This Time, Sir!"

  1. koshkha
    13/06/2011 at 12:03 Permalink

    Sounds like his editor/copyreader let him down a bit – we all make those kind of mistakes in our writing but it’s the job of the professionals to catch it. I’m always amazed how often books get published when riddled full of errors.

  2. eilidhcatriona
    13/06/2011 at 12:48 Permalink

    It’s a shame – it’s certainly a great story and he has a good narrating style, it just needed a bit more care.

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