Study Guide

I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away Summary & Study Guide

Bill Bryson
This Study Guide consists of approximately 32 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of I'm a Stranger Here Myself.
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I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away Summary & Study Guide Description

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I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America after Twenty Years Away is author Bill Bryson's account of his life in America after living in England for twenty years. Bill, his wife and their four children return to Bill's home country where they establish their home in Hanover, New Hampshire, where Bill works as an author. This book is a selection of newspaper columns on becoming re-acclimated to life in America for Bill and establishing an American lifestyle for his family.

Bill Bryson, a prolific writer on travel and everyday life issues, tells the story of returning to America after having lived in England for twenty years. While in England Bill married and raised a family of four children in a remote farming area in the English countryside. When the children's education needs and Bill's work make it important for them to move from their remote location, Bill and the family decide to make the move to America.

The family selects the college town of Hanover, New Hampshire in which to settle and all but Bill thoroughly embrace the American way of life. Shortly after their move, Bill is approached by a friend of his, an editor of a British newspaper, to write columns about American life for the British paper. The columns presented in this book help illuminate American life for a British audience but American readers can completely understand and empathize with Bill's experiences.

Bill enjoys being back in America for the most part but does find some things annoying or more complicated than life in Britain. Bill acknowledges that he had left America as a young man and returns as a middle-aged man with more responsibilities so his perspective on the country will naturally be different. Bill is thrilled to once again see live baseball games and small town American life. There are also things that have radically changed since Bill had been a boy in Des Moines, Iowa, such as the seemingly endless supply of junk food and cable television channels.

Not all of Bill's experiences are so pleasant; however, as he is faced with domestic problems with the family's large home. Bill finds situations such as going to the hardware store a daunting task as he readily admits all through the book that he is not mechanically inclined in the slightest. Bill also struggles through obtaining citizenship for the family and tax forms. Every challenge is approached with humor and it is impossible to think that even the most challenging situations could be difficult for a man who finds the humor in every situation.

Bill's writing style is so informal and casual that it seems like each column is just a friendly discussion over the back fence in his small town. By the end of the book it feels as if a friend has moved away and the reader wonders what Bill and his family are doing now.

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This section contains 489 words
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