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Editor reviews

One of Britain’s best-loved comedians and authors, Tony Hawks, has written and narrated his hilarious audiobook Once Upon a Time in the West…Country, a memoir of his move from big-city London life to the villages of the West Country, family in tow. Hear the trials and tribulations, the highs and lows of his challenging adaption to rural living. With good cheer and positivity, Hawks writes of the array of amusing characters he meets along the way. This book is jolly and honest, giving listeners a picturesque scene of country life from a man who tells it best. Available now from Audible.

Summary

Comedian and best-selling author Tony Hawks is embarking on his greatest adventure yet - moving from city life in London to deepest Devon in the West Country.

You can take the man out of the city, but is the countryside ready for him? Comedian and born-and-bred townie Tony Hawks is not afraid of a challenge - or indeed a good bet. He's hitchhiked round Ireland with a fridge and taken on the Moldovan football team at tennis one by one. Now the time has come for his greatest gamble yet - turning his back on comfortable city life to move to the wilds of the West Country.

With his partner, Fran, in tow and their first child on the way, he embraces the rituals of village life with often absurd and hilarious results, introducing us to an ensemble of eclectic characters along the way. One minute he's taking part in a calamitous tractor run, the next he's chairing a village meeting, but of course he still finds time for one last solo adventure before fatherhood arrives - cycling coast to coast with a mini pig called Titch.

In the epic battle of man versus countryside, who will win out?

©2015 Tony Hawks (P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Great 'Read'

Not often that I write a book review particularly one I don't need to read, but just listen to. I have a lot of Audibles and enjoy most as I'm a careful chooser, always reading other's reviews! I am drawn to writing a review here though simply because I really enjoyed listening to the author reading his own story. It's a bit like a poet reading their own work, being the only person who really knows what the text was meant to sound like.
Throughout the book, which I found really hard to pause, I could see Tony relating his adventure in person and not like in a book but as if we were sitting across a pint in the local, having got together after his latest voyage of discovery.
The story was completely absorbing. I have read, using my eyes, his previous books too but this one just connected in a unique way and was a great experience.
This book could be used by Audible as a sample to entice new converts to the audio book world.
Tony, If you read this; it really is 'Grrrreat!' - could be a serial (see what I did there?).

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • TomPhil
  • Stockport, United Kingdom
  • 22-05-16

Once upon a time... Hawks went on adventures

I started reading Tony Hawks's books years ago, back when he used to travel around with a fridge, and play Moldovans at tennis, and try to get a hit single in Albania. I used to wait eagerly for his next book, ready to laugh out loud at his latest crazy exploits.

In this book he... moves to Devon. That really is it. I can't help but feel that Hawks's publishers were also a little underwhelmed by this book, given that their synopsis concludes - "in the epic battle of man versus countryside, who will win out?" Really? Did they actually read this book, or just assume its contents based on his previous stories?

That's not to say that this is a bad book. Hawks is an engaging narrator and a good storyteller. He comes across as a really nice likeable guy, so you're genuinely interested in how things turn out for him.

There is certainly a niche for books written by good storytellers about their everyday ordinary lives, and this falls squarely within it. With one exception, nothing particularly unusual or unexpected happens to Hawks. Having moved from London to Devon he simply settles into slow paced, quiet Devon life.

The thing that lets this book down a little however is that it's rather uneven. A mini-adventure that Hawks goes on with a miniature pig dominates the book, despite not being long or interesting enough to justify such focus. The seemingly minute-by-minute description of his son's birth, whilst obviously of great importance to Hawks, seems to be given rather excessive space in a book about moving to the country.

Overall I'd summarise this as "listenable". I actually finished this book, which probably puts it in the top 50% of books I've listened to, but it was something I dipped in and out of when I had nothing else to listen to, and the last hour or so was more a case of "let's get this one finished". If you're a Hawks fan, planning on moving from a city to the country, or find miniature pigs particularly cute, give it a try.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A Must

Thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end - Witty possessing true values plus a laugh out loud

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Susie S
  • Cornwall, United Kingdom
  • 15-08-15

Funny

Just what I needed to keep me chuckling out loud whilst catching up on the gardening and other chores. Good to hear how life has turned out for Tony since his last book A Piano in The Pyrenees - no spoilers!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • caya
  • Newton Abbot, United Kingdom
  • 04-08-15

A relaxing and interesting read.

Tony Hawkes has written another witty, light-hearted yet thoughtful book about his life and the situations he finds himself faced with. As you would expect, he is a very good narrator.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to the next.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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another brilliant look into Tony hawks life

loved it thoroughly had me laughing out loud, smiling and smirking throughout the entire book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great read

I loved this book it was wonderfully entertaining
Made me laugh out loud I read all of Tony Hawks books and have never been disappointed

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A gentle stroll through the West Country

What made the experience of listening to Once Upon a Time in the West...Country the most enjoyable?

Very humorous, his description of the characters were excellent and had me laughing out loud at certain points - if you're thinking of moving to the country, this is a good reason why!

Who was your favorite character and why?

The piglet which was an added bonus to the story

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Riding the tractor had me in stitches....

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Its a bit long to do in one sitting, its an easy return to.

Any additional comments?

Tony Hawks voice makes it....its fun and an interesting listen on making the move from the smoke to the rural life!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Disappointing after reading previous TH titles

Rather ordinary albeit amusing in parts. Somehow cycling with the pig and the tractor episode seemed to have something missing after the fridge and tennis.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyable

It's a fun, light hearted and easy read. Hawkes' observations and gentle humour are entertaining. Few laugh out loud moments, but it's made me want to visit Devon.