"I hereby bet Tony Hawks the sum of One Hundred Pounds that he cannot hitchhike round the circumference of Ireland, with a fridge, within one calendar month."
ROUND IRELAND WITH A FRIDGE begins with this foolish (read: drunken) bet that Tony Hawks, a comedian from Britain, cannot hitch around Ireland while lugging a refrigerator in thirty days. Tony admits that this bet is as asinine as you can get, and accepts it for the spirit only, never wanting to say "if only" --- the refrigerator ends up costing him more than he actually stands to win.
Blessed by good weather and a spot on national radio, Tony sets off with fridge in tow, charms the people of Ireland, and gets charmed (and changed) by Ireland in return. Instead of becoming a hindrance, the fridge unexpectedly becomes a conversational and often embarrassing focal point for Tony and the people he meets along the way. During his month of hitching, Tony and the fridge meet a king, go surfing, enter a bachelor festival, and become intimate with the inside of more than a few pubs. The fridge, which usually receives more attention than Tony himself, is even blessed by a nun and christened by a bar staff.
ROUND IRELAND WITH A FRIDGE is not a travel book --- it does not describe the sights and sounds of Ireland, unless you consider the inside of a pub and scenes from the roadside "sights" (in which case, you will LOVE this book). Rather, it is a heartwarming testament to the generous people of Ireland, and an ode to how one pint-sized refrigerator can bring people together and show them a good time. Tony admits that his trip changed him, made him a better person, and his story is sure to change you, if only by adding a few more laugh lines to your face.
Tony and his "philosophy of the fridge" are charming and often laugh-out-loud-funny. His observations on Ireland, the people he meets, and life in general will make you feel as if you have found a new friend in spirit, a new country to love, and a desire to trek out into the horizon with a kitchen appliance (and a Guinness) of your own. The closing pages of this book brought a feeling that truly surprised me --- I was just as sad as Tony to see the thirty days go by.
This is a witty, well-written book, with photos!, perfect for a casual read, and sure to bring a smile or two to your face.
Reviewed by Joan Suszko on March 7, 2001