Title: A Slice of Apple Pie: Your One-Stop Guide to Living in America
Author: Julie Musk
RRP: £14.95
Sale Price: £7.99

Publication date: 1 July 2008
Format: Paperback, 246 x 171 mm
Number of pages: 416
Illustrations: 24

ISBN: 978-1-906651-00-8

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Most people love to travel; few have the chance to take it one step further and move overseas. For those who do, a little help can go a long way. The book is the result of three years' research and two years living in America. It recounts the experiences of one English family and their dog, bringing together all the thoughts and experiences of the move, settling in, getting to know the neighbours and understanding the culture. It takes a down-to-earth, honest look at America and Americans from a British perspective, describing the differences between the two cultures and possible reasons behind them. Combining practical information, anecdotes, history, geography, psychology and much more besides, in one entertaining read, A Slice of Apple Pie is essential reading for anyone interested in learning more about life in America.

 What reviewers have said:
This is a comprehensive overview of moving to the States. Includes great sections on moving pets and ongoing care; renting or buying houses ands a wealth of information about American culture. Always readable, humorous in places, highly recommended.
Amazon Reader Review - Apr 11
Extremely comprehensive guide to not only living in America, but invaluable to anyone interested in American culture or working over there. The author clearly knows her stuff, with exceptional levels of detail, and well-judged humour. Having just returned from 3 years in the States, I'd highly recommend this to anyone planning to live, work, or even just visit for the first time. Volume is much larger and significantly more comprehensive than I expected - it's a big slice of pie!
Amazon Reader Review - Sep 09
... what sets it apart from others tackling the same subject is that it is a first-hand account by one english family – and their dog – who lived in the USA for two years. I loved the paragraph on ‘missing things’, which justifiably includes quality British newspapers and reporting, strong tea, and good bread and butter. Under overall praise, she finds it refreshing that children are welcomed and catered for almost everywhere; that shop assistants have a very good attitude; and that cleanliness is important. Enormous quantities of food are an issue, and restaurant atmosphere may be lacking, but Julie points out that a huge range of inexpensive eateries can be found and no one sniffs at giving you a doggie bag of leftovers (even if it’s not for the dog!). Other chapters cover all the practicalities, from getting your pet into the USA to education, health, financial and shopping matters. A great book for anyone considering moving or having to relocate to the USA, as well as for those who are just curious about life in America.
Carole Chester, Essentially America Magazine, Winter 2009

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Why should this book float on top of a sea already awash with publications on the subject of America and Americans?
There are plenty of good books out there about life in the USA, most written in a straightforward, serious kind of way.
A Slice of Apple Pie is a personal and honest look at America by one family (mum, dad, two small children and dog) who spent almost two years living in the Midwest. In writing nearly every day, I have tried to capture the main elements of American life -- the fun stuff and the not-so-fun -- to provide insight (and indeed foresight) to anyone contemplating a similar move to the States. The book doesn’t pretend to cover everything you’ll come across, yet should provide a balanced view by drawing on other people’s experiences as well as my own, by using quotes, facts and figures, and by including anecdotes from Jim Phillips, a fellow Brit living near us in Ohio.

How do you get to America and back with your sense of humour intact?
Moving overseas is both exhilarating and downright nerve-racking. This invaluable book will significantly reduce the administrative burden you’ll face in moving to America (and possibly back again), to help you adjust and get on with enjoying life in ‘the great US of A’. It gives useful and interesting facts, as well as providing entertainment and some laughs along the way. It will also save you a great deal of trouble, time and money.

So who needs this book?

  • anyone considering a move to the US or already living there (for example, military and government personnel, those on work contracts, students and teachers, business people, retirees, expatriates, temporary workers, etc.);
  • businesses and organisations that work with Americans, send staff or are relocating to America;
  • twinning associations or sister cities;
  • travel operators and long-stay tourists;
  • relocation agencies selling homes in the US and holiday homeowners.
  • travellers/vacationers who want more than just a travel guide;
  • anyone who is curious to know what life in America is really like.

The book takes you through preparing for the move, initial feelings on coming to America, how to integrate into your new situation and, most importantly, how to enjoy and make the most of your time there. Based largely on life in Ohio, a state known for its middle-American values and as a barometer of the nation (demographers class it as the most American state), the book gives an insight into how America and Americans tick, and the differences between British and American cultures. Finally, it offers some personal thoughts on adjusting back after living the life of Riley.




1   So, You’re Off to America?

What Do You Want Out of the Experience?

Preparing for the Move

Valuing Possessions

Can You Take It With You?



What to Do With the House

Passports, Visas and Other Matters

Becoming a US Citizen

Checklist of What’s Involved in Moving Overseas

Being in Transit

America, Here We Come

First Stop, Washington Dulles Airport
Arriving in Washington, DC

Flying on to Ohio – The Birthplace of Aviation

First Impressions

Missing the Little Things

2   Flying Dogs and Cats
Health Issues
Arranging Shipment
Summer and Winter Flying Restrictions
Last Minute Arrangements
At the Airport (Operation Jester Commences)
Recap of Time Schedule
Information Taken from PETS


3   Where Exactly Are We?
America – Big Country
Natural Topography and Vegetation
Time Zones
Dividing up the Regions
Local Wildlife
4   Preconceptions and Reality
Common Preconceptions
Some Personal Observations
Results of the Surveys
5   Our New Country
A Growing Population
Different Attitudes
Government and Politics
Patriotism and the Military
Icons of the United States
Commentators on American Life
6   A Brief Travel Through American History
Early Explorers
The First English Settlers
The Eighteenth Century
The Nineteenth Century
Native Americans
Black Americans
The Twentieth Century
7   A Not So Common Language
The Written Word
A Strange Manner of Speaking
American English Versus British English
Regional and Cultural Differences
Common and Not-So-Common Phrases
8   Education and the Family
Terms Used in the American Education System
Your Schooling Options
Starting a New School in America
School Holidays
Curriculum Issues
Higher Education
Problems with the American College System
The Yellow Bus
Security at School
Attitudes Towards Children
Personal Findings
9   Systems and Services
The Postal Service
The Telephone System
Internet and Television
Electricity Supply and Appliances
Money, Banking and Finance
Weights and Measures
10   There’s No Place Like Home
Housing Styles
Private Housing Developments
Big Is Beautiful
External Appearances
The Other End of the Market
City Living and Towns
Household Refuse
11   On the Roads
A Little History
Finding Your Way
Obtaining a Driver’s Licence
Young Drivers
Buying a Vehicle
Registration Plates, Tax and County Decals
Emissions Check
The AAA (Triple A)
Cyclists and Pedestrians
General Rules of the Road
It’s the Law
Seat Belts, Child Seats and Restraints
Driving and Mobile Phones
At the Petrol Station
The Car Wash
Hazards on the Roads
12   Holidaying and Tripping About
Going by Air
Going by Train
Going by Bus
Going by Car, Motorcycle or Bicycle
Scenic Roads and Trails
America’s World Heritage Sites
Travelling with Your Pet
13   Seasons, Festivals and Other Celebrations
Spring Events
Summer Events
Autumn Events
Winter Events
Public Holidays
14   Sport and Entertainment
Sport: It’s a Big Deal
School, College and University Sports
Baseball and Softball
American Football
Motor Sports
Other Sports
Sporting Opportunities for Youngsters
American Styles of Music
Books and Magazines
Home Crafts
15   Religion
The Allure of the Church
Difference Faiths
Upholding the Christian Religion
Politics and Religion
16   The Shopping Experience
The All-American Mall
Shopping Elsewhere
Prices, Discounts and Savings
Practical Considerations and Thrifty Tips
Garage or Yard Sales, and Estate Sales
Charity Stores
America’s Love/Hate Relationship with Wal-mart
17   Food, Glorious Food, and Drink
Eating Out
Shopping for Food
In the Kitchen
Regional Cuisine
Some Peculiarly American Foods
Peculiar Drinks
18   Health Matters
The Fat Problem
The Nation’s Diet
Eating Disorders
The American Health Care System
Footing the Bill
Coming to America: Taking Care of Your Health
Some Particular Health Hazards
The American Way of Birth:
An Example of Where America Has Got it Wrong
A Preoccupation with Health
A Doctor’s Viewpoint
19   The Economy, Work and Retirement
The Economy
The Working Day
Taking Leave
Why Do They Do It?
Income and Expenditure
Tax, Social Security and Other Drains on Income
Stressing the ‘Minimum’ in Minimum Wages
Formalities for Foreigners
Charity Giving and Volunteering
20   It’s a Dog’s Life
Health Care
VIP Pets
Shopping for Your Pet
21   American Issues and Problems
Guns: An American Tradition
Other Criminal Activity
The Energy Crisis
Waste, Pollution and Aesthetics
The Natural Versus Man-made Environment
Tensions in Society
Animosity Towards America
Wealth Inequality

22   Preparing for the Move Back and Final Thoughts
Selling the House
Giving Up a Rented Home
Planning the Removals Operation
Winding Up the House
Financial Matters
Redirecting the Mail
Selling the Car
Hiring a Rental
If You Have Children
Flying an Animal Home
Initial Thoughts on Being Back
Final Thoughts


Cover Illustrations

Our wonderful cover illustrations were created by renowned cartoonist Merrily Harpur. See more of her work at


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