Rosie Whitehouse Travel and Parenting
Rosie Whitehouse Travel and Parenting
 

Are We There Yet? Travels With My Frontline Family

This book is a true story about what it is like to be married to a war reporter and what it is like to have one for a dad. It s about being five-years old and wondering why Daddy s boots are covered in mud from a mass grave and who was in it. It's about sitting on the sofa at home and watching cruise missiles rain down on your father's head - then eating your baked beans and doing your homework.

 

It's the story of five kids growing up in the New Europe and trying to work out why some countries supermarket shelves are empty and others groan with hundreds of different loo cleaners.

 

How do they come to terms with the past, the present and the future, especially when the ghosts of Auschwitz come close to home and the scars of war are not easy to heal?

 

And how do they work out who they are when their roots are scattered across the continent. What shall I be today: British, French, Jewish, Irish Catholic, English Protestant or how about Serbian or even Romanian? 



 

"This is a book about war, love and family, but for once, not told by a journalist but by a real woman, a mother and a wife. Funny and intelligent, Are We There Yet? is a truly good read."
Janine di Giovanni, author of Madness Visible: A Memoir of War (Bloomsbury 2005)
A Kindle edition is available at Amazon. Or order the book directly on the Contacts page.

"Her courage and humorous versatility come across vividly in her lively narrative of first hand encounters with a difficult violent world."
The Times
"Rosie Whitehouse has perfected the art of travelling."
The Bulletin, Brussels

“I wasn’t sure whether to laugh to or to cry. Laugh because this book is so funny or cry because it touches on all sorts of raw nerves. So many travel book cum memoirs that you can see in the shops nowadays all seem to be about the same old themes and places – busy middle class families escaping to rural France or Tuscany. Rosie Whitehouse’s book is fresh.I have never read anything even remotely like it before.”
Asne Seierstad, author of The Bookseller of Kabul (Little, Brown 2003)

"Anyone thinking of being a foreign correspondent should buy this book. Anyone thinking of marrying one should read it twice. And anyone thinking of writing something similar should think again"
Ed Lucas Prospect Online

"... it's hard to resist the pull of Whitehouse's powerful and direct writing style. Unpretentious and free of cliches, it delivers a tightly paved account of a British woman's attempt to navigate her family through strange times and events that hopefully won't reoccur in our life time."
Marcus Tanner

READ AN EXTRACT FROM THE BOOK

 

“Where’s Mr Parking? Why doesn’t he find us a space?” asks Ben as we drive up and down the street outside our flat. Ben loves Mr Parking. I can’t see him anywhere.

Mr Parking is the man who organises the parking lots outside Belgrade town hall. It’s an elegant 1880s building that was once the royal palace and is right next to our block of flats. For a tip, he lets us park in the lots reserved for local officials. I haven’t seen him for weeks and have to be careful where I put the car, or we’ll be towed.

“I think he has gone back to Bosnia to fight, Ben.”

“What!” Ben is horrified.

“Why? I want to park the car. Doesn’t he want to stay here?”

“No, I expect he wanted to go home and defend his village.”

“Where is his village?”

“He’s from eastern Bosnia, the bit between here and Sarajevo. He told Dads he comes from Kamenica. It’s in one of the last bits there that’s still under Muslim control.” It’s a village close to the town of Srebrenica.

“What! He’s a Muslim?” Ben is amazed: “But he looks like everyone else!”

“Of course, he does! You don’t look different if you’re Muslim. Bosnians look the same whether they are Muslims or not.” My mother has just sent him a book about the crusades.

“I thought Muslims looked like Arabs.”

 

Ben never stops asking after Mr Parking as the months roll on:

“What’s happened to him?”

“Maybe, he is besieged in his village. It’s a Muslim stronghold. He’s fighting, I expect.”

He always asks: “Poor Mr Parking. Is he dead?” and I answer: “Maybe.”

I can tell he thinks I’m hiding something but I really have no idea what has become of Mr Parking. The scenarios aren’t good though. The fighting in eastern Bosnia is vicious. After a ten-month siege Kamenica eventually falls to the Serbs.

 

Not long after it has been overrun, Tim goes to watch the exhumation of a mass grave on a hill above the village. It’s a sunny winter’s day and the corpses steam, as they are lifted out of the frozen ground. The Serbs are looking for their dead. In this part of Bosnia, there are tales of captured Serbian prisoners being roasted on stakes and impaled. Some of the bodies in the grave have had their arms and legs tied up with wire. One has no head. Tim gets back very late at night. His boots are covered in mud from the grave. He leaves them in the bathroom. He’s exhausted and falls asleep immediately. I lie next to him in the dark. When I glance across the hallway to the bathroom, I can see his boots. I get up and shut the door. I think about all the things he has seen. I can’t take my eyes off him. How can he remain so calm and composed? I would be a nervous wreck. I realize that his kind of journalism is not for me.

 

When Ben gets up the following morning, he wants to know why the bathroom door is shut. When he opens it he sees the boots. It’s inevitable he’ll ask about where the mud has come from:

“Why are Dad’s boots so dirty? Where’s he been?”

“Nowhere special,” I say trying to shrug the question off and concentrate on loading the washing machine. I think I should start to be a bit more reticent about things. It’s too terrible to contemplate. Tim is still asleep. I look at Ben.

“I wanna know. Tell me!”

He looks determined. He’s right. There’s no point in lying. It’s interesting and worth talking about after all. I close the door. I don’t want to wake Tim.

“Daddy’s been to see a mass grave in Mr Parking’s village. The mud is from the grave. It was being dug up.

“Was Mr Parking in it?”

“No. They were Serbs killed by Muslims.”

“By Mr Parking?”

“Oh Ben! How do I know?”

“Where has Mr Parking gone now?”

“The Muslims who escaped have gone to Srebrenica. Dads saw their footprints in the snow. They had run away across the fields. I expect he ran off too.”

I open the bathroom door and go into the kitchen to make breakfast. He runs off to play Lego. Life goes on

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© Rosie Whitehouse

The New Liguria Guide is Out Now!

MY BOOKS

 

  

My guide to Paris for families is now out in Italian  .....

 

 

.... and in Dutch.

Are We There Yet? Travels with my Frontline Family

 

NOW ON KINDLE ....

http://www.amazon.co.uk/There-Travels-Frontline-Family-ebook/dp/B00AI5F8OU

THE FIRST DEDICATED GUIDE TO LIGURIA, one of Italy's most beautiful regions.

 

It's making news:

A Scenic Tour of Mountainous Liguria in The Times 15/06/2013

 

48 Hours in Genoa The Independent 6/03/2013

Family fun in the South of France.

Awards

My Bradt guide to Liguria won the Italian Tourist Board's Best Guidebook 2013 Award. Thanks chaps!