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I had no idea that this book would have such an impact. It’s and amazing story. Martin writes with a fluidity that draws the reader in. He has the ability to turn words into images and your imagination takes over.
The story’s beginning is not easy. Life threw some curve balls that would have defeated many people. Not Martin. He had a young wife and family and they were his driving force. He moved to Germany in search of work and worked all the hours he could while his wife Vanessa stayed at home with their three young children. Wow! That’s a tough. Yet the Barber team pulled together over the miles. The back story laid the ground work for an adventure that was, at times a real rollercoaster and I breathed a sigh of relief when Vanessa and the boys joined Martin in Germany.
If you like travel books you will love this. Martin’s power of description paints such vivid pictures of a very beautiful country. If you haven’t been to Germany you might add it to your list. Martin talks with true affection of the wonderful people they met and the lasting friendships they made. The welcome they received eased them into a new life and an amazing culture. The Germans are such friendly welcoming people and so happy to share their culture. It’s a beautiful country with breathtaking scenery and fairy tale castles. And yes, the pastries are very tempting and seriously yummy. I got all of that from the book but I am lucky. I’ve experienced the welcome, the culture and the beauty and Martin describes it beautifully.
It’s well know I’m not fond of football yet Martin’s description of Euro 96 had me on the edge of my seat. Unbelievable that I could get so involved. Well, Martin changed my view of motorbikes too!!! I’m not telling you the outcome. You will have to read the book.
What this young family achieved over the years will inspire people. The setbacks were seen as challenge and Martin grasped life by the throat determined that, with Vanessa’s support, their young family would thrive. They did and the adventures are a joy to read. The young Martin literally worked his socks of but also made sure there were fun times. These regularly included family and friends who joined them on their adventures.
It’s wonderful to know that Martin and Vanessa, the indomitable team that refused to give in, now enjoy a life they richly deserve. They prove that hard work, loyalty to friends and workmates, and that important quality in life, humility, gets you a long way. I’m not giving anything away here but their is a chapter in the book that shows true humility. I have to say though, I enjoyed every chapter. I felt a bit lost when I finished the book. I wanted more. I am eagerly looking forward to the next book.
I’d like to finish by using my title. “If you only read one book this year, make it this book”. It’s a story of absolute determination. Hard work and inspiration. A story told from the solid foundations of a love between two people. It kept them going. I felt joy at the end but... OMG! I am in awe of the young Martin...
I ordered this book after reading Martin’s escapades on a motorcycle around Spain a couple of years ago, just a couple of days after passing his test. Really got the feel of what Martin,Ness and family experienced in Germany soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Culture, work ethic, friendliness, and much more. Got right into the book, Martin’s writing has a humour about it, and an honesty, showing their ups and downs as a young family in a foreign Country, initially with little grasp of the lingo. As the story develops you find yourself willing them to succeed, for Martin to get well paid work without having to be away from home, and for them to be able to spend more time together as a family. Read how they are welcomed, looked after, and helped by their neighbours who become their friends. The book has hardships and successes for both Martin’s family and workmates, but when Martin does succeed, he ensures that his colleagues benefit too. What stood out was how principled and genuine a couple Martin and Ness are, and how much love, faith and respect they must have had for each other back then, and evidently from reading this book, still do. Read this, and you will want to have them as your friends. Let’s hope that Martin has plenty of time to write about his life’s next chapter during lockdown.
Bill Bryson fans will enjoy this book. Not strictly a travelogue, this life writing novel details the journey that Martin and his young family took to Germany in the early 90s. Heartwarming tales of adopting another culture including festivals, friendly neighbours, children learning how to speak German before their parents. New jobs, jobs that didn't work out colleagues getting different pay packets (I felt the cold weather up on the roof in these chapters). Low tolerance for schnapps (day time drinking stories). Snow, BMWs and vans. Don't forget the World Cup! The secret hero is Martin's wife, Vanessa. No internet or video calling home in those days... three children and a language barrier. What a trooper!
This story is told in a fun and upbeat manner, yet the seriousness of the situation is still there. Takes great courage to do what this man did. Hats off to you Martin, and no less to your wife Vanessa, who I'm sure must have rolled her eyes at least 100 times! Family is important and this telling really brings that to the fore. A heart warming story although some of the descriptions of the weather had me shivering. A seriously good read.
Thoroughly enjoyed this memoir. Finding work and moving to another country with a young family is not an easy task. But, given the circumstances at home - the author felt he had to ‘take the chance’ - and so he did, together with his wife and their boys - a nice read, interesting, wholesome, warts-and-all type of writing - I liked it.
Great follow on from his first book, although this book is not my usual subject matter I found it a very easy read that hooks you in quite easily. Great pictures to support the recounting of their life changing move to Germany.
What a great read. When some would have folded under the pressure, Martin didn’t. His determination to recover for a financial setback sees him leave his native country and find employment in Germany. His easy-going writing style introduces the reader to his family and his new home, and his love of both leaps off every page. A highly enjoyable tale of triumph over adversity.
I've known the author for a number years through work, and always knew that he worked in Germany before settling back in the UK, but never really got to know why he ended up in Germany, or how it worked out for him and his family. Found this book to be a very good read; could not put down until I had finished; just wanting to know how work continued and what joys the family endured in settling in a new country. Can't wait for the following on
A very personal, detailed account of the highs and lows that Martin and his family encountered. The way he has described his memories and emotions throughout the book kept me captivated and wanting to keep reading.