Not only did I laugh, but I laughed til there were tears rolling down my face. Til my sides were aching. Til my other half poked his head round the door and asked "what's going on?".
Are we nearly there yet tells of the journey of Ben, his wife and their two pre-school children, who embark on an epic round Britain trip reviewing child-friendly visitor attractions for a guide book. There are moments of madness, where I've secretly planned a similar kind of last yahoo before Ruby starts school. However, one short trip in the car to the supermarket usually brings me back to my senses.
Apart from the obvious hilarity, I warmed to this book instantly because the family were so familiar. Phoebe is exactly the same age as my own daughter, and has much the same personality. As the grown ups, Ben and his wife clearly love each other deeply (you'd have to to be with someone 24/7 for 6 months). The relationship between Ben and his wife Dinah is clearly one of a couple who fit like a comfy worn in pair of slippers. I mean that in the nicest possible way. They share a history, they know what each other is thinking, they are capable of insane arguments about the most meaningless issues, and their not averse to a bit of good old-fashioned affectionate name calling - just like me and the old man.
For a male author (sweeping generalisation alert) I was quite un-nerved by Ben's insightful writing about his wife. After a disagreement and a bit of sulking, he reflects how Dinah does that barely noticeable slightly slower walk to make it look like he's storming off. How she lowers her voice ever so slightly to make it appear that he's the one shouting. Hell, I didn't even realise I did that, but I do!
As well as the car journey, Ben embarks on an emotional voyage. His father falls ill at the beginning of the trip and this leads to a battle of emotions - pride; resentment; rebellion; admiration; love; and regret. The descriptions of his father on his sick bed moved me to tears as much as the comic scenes.
There are so many passages I could recount for you, but I don't want to spoil the read. If you've got young kids, had young kids or know young kids, this is a must read. Seek it out. Its available on Kindle too at only 99p currently.
I have one paperback copy to give away so read on.
Ben is a big fan of Twitter, so it's great to be able to chat to him there. After reading this book I feel like I know him. There's certainly much 'sharing' going on in the novel and i feel as though I know him a little too well. He was also kind enough to give me an interview...
Massive thanks to Ben for taking the time to answer my questions, but mostly for writing such a fantastic book.
EDIT: This competition is now closed and the winner has been notified.
If you'd like to win a copy of the book, simply leave a comment below saying why you'd like to read it. For an additional entry please tweet "I'm entering @missielizzieb's blog competition to win a copy of Ben Hatch's Are we Nearly There Yet http://bit.ly/wLt65E". Please leave an additional comment to say you've tweeted and remember to leave a method of contact.
The winner will be chosen at random after 5pm on 06 February 2012.
This is not a sponsored post, all views expressed are my own and the prize is supplied by myself.