Book review: Very British Problems by Rob Temple

You know how it is, you’re in a queue, and someone stands next to you, instead of behind you. Are they queuing or just loitering? Are they going to push in front? Are they just unaware of how queues work?

This, my friend, is a very British problem.

Rob Temple’s book Very British Problems came about after he set up the Twitter account @soverybritish. It is, according to its blurb, a book that reveals how we’re “a nation of socially awkward but well-meaning oddballs, struggling to make it through every day without saying sorry to an inanimate object”. 

(By the way, British problem no. 236: Trying not to laugh out loud on the train while reading Very British Problems in case people think you’re a weirdo).

The great thing about this book is that I so often found myself nodding along and going “yes, that’s me”. Among my favourites, and those that hit closest to home, are:

  • “Saying you’re pleased with your haircut despite the deep inner sadness it’s causing you.” – There was this one time I got a fringe, and it was horrible and I told the hairdresser it was lovely, and I went home and almost cried.
  • “Feeling the need to pat down all your pockets, despite knowing full well you haven’t got your loyalty card.” – All the time, and mostly I don’t even have pockets on my clothes.
  • “Sitting awkwardly for your entire journey to accommodate the staggering leg spread of the gentleman beside you.” – In my new life as a rail commuter this is a daily misery.
  • “The challenge of attempting to deal with a sneeze while holding a scalding cup of tea in a surface-free area.” – I don’t drink tea, but this problem can be applied to drinks of any kind, I feel.

Very British Problems is a laugh-out-loud book (even if you’re on the train) and one that should be passed from friend to friend so you can all exclaim about how these problems really are the sort we all encounter in everyday life. (Except then you encounter the problem of friends who turn the corners of book pages, and you can’t say anything, and it’s all awkward, and oh goodness…)

Very British Problems is book 11 in my challenge to read 12 non-fiction books in 2013. 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Glad to hear this book's great! I follow the Twitter account (and like you, I find myself nodding in agreement a lot of the time to some of the stuff it mentions) and was quite delighted to learn that it was made into a book too 🙂


  2. It did make me laugh out loud at times, and it's very relatable!



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