Book Review: Round Ireland With a Fridge by Tony HawksPosted: August 21, 2013
Like the works of Dave Gorman and Danny Wallace this is the story of a man having to follow through on a foolhardy bet. Back in 1997, comedian Tony Hawks, who had seen a hitchhiker with a fridge by the side of the road in Ireland. Hawks told the story often, and felt that the Irish stereotypes of warmth, friendliness and sense of humour meant it was the only country this could be done. A friend disagreed, feeling that nobody, Irish or not, would pick up a hitchhiker with a fridge. And so a bet was made for £100, all Hawks had to do was travel around Ireland relying on the kindness of others. With a fridge.
This book is the story of Hawks as he tries to navigate around the country, thumbing lifts. His mission, described by a radio DJ he talks to as being ” a completely purposeless idea, but a damn fine one”, captures the imagination of many people who offer him free lodging, food and rides. Hawks works his way through Ireland, meeting a cast of eccentrics and spending plenty of time in pubs. Well it is Ireland.
Hawks approaches the task with good humour and apart from a few moments of despondency by the roadside and a long, sleepless night at a hostel, he keeps this up for the duration of his bizarre journey. Hawks comes across as a funny, warm hearted decent bloke and writes with great humour and quite a bit of good feeling for the people and places he sees along the way.
There are some nice little stories along the way, and Hawks should be applauded for throwing himself into the experiences along the way. What I really dug about the guy was that he wrote honestly about developing infatuations with girls he met for a single night and the way his mind swung from optimism and positivity to irritation. He captures the fluctuating moods you experience when you’re traveling and the way the tiredness, the weather and other factors can effect your outlook.
But for the most part, he’s a cheerful, amusing guide on the trip, and seems pleased and charmed by the kindness and warmth of the welcome he receives along the way, with the Irish really fulfilling the best of the stereotypes about them. Because of this it’s a rather sweet book which reminds you of how lovely people can be.
Verdict: A very fun, feelgood quick read. Hawks is an entertaining and likable narrator and I’d probably check out some more of his stuff. 7/10
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.