Top positive review
34 people found this helpful
I would definitely recommend it, but only to the appropriate audience
on 28 April 2014
First of all, yes, the jobs that this book covers are all fairly basic, such as hanging a shelf or a mirror, unblocking a toilet or stripping old wallpaper and pasting up some more. So, if you're already a competent DIYer, then this book is in no way intended for you. The target audience is the modern generation who were never shown how to do any of this stuff, and to this end I believe it actually succeeds surprisingly well...
Why? Well, my step dad (who was army-trained and therefore very good at DIY) used to say that DIY is all about having the confidence to give things a go yourself. Because this book sticks to 100 common and basic jobs, if followed over time (a job here, another one there) it will most likely start to develop that confidence in the reader, the confidence to take on bigger jobs, which, as I understand it, is exactly what Sarah Beeny intended. And although the jobs included are basic, there are still some in there that would no doubt make you feel proud of yourself, jobs that are not THAT basic, such as laying down laminate flooring or building your very own alcove cupboards, from scratch, all of which would help to build that confidence that I'm talking about. In contrast to that, the book also gives advice on how to assemble flat-pack furniture! It doesn't get more basic than that, but like I say if no-one has ever shown you this stuff how else are you expected to know? There is also a nice section at the beginning discussing the tools that the average homeowner would do well to own, and tips on how to use them so as to make your DIY jobs as hassle-free as possible.
I have several other DIY books myself already (one by B&Q and another by Reader's Digest). Both are huge, thick things that I would only ever use as reference for specific jobs, not to actually learn from and gain confidence. This is because, although far greater in scope, covering electrics and plumbing for example, their style is also rather heavy, formulaic and off-putting. To be honest, I find those books daunting more than anything. They don't get much use. If pushed to recommend a book to someone who knows almost nothing about DIY but would like to change that, Sarah's is the one that I would recommend. Consider it a stepping stone to bigger things.
All in, when you consider that you can supplement this book by seeking out Youtube videos for specific jobs, I think this offering from Sarah could take you surprisingly far. You could, of course, just look up Youtube videos without this book, but as I'm sure you know it can be a chore in itself trying to find a decent vid. I would still say it's worth owning Sarah's book if you're a homeowner, and simply use Youtube as another reference so that you can see the job being done.
While we're on the subject of visuals, regarding style, it would have been nice to see some colour pictures in this book, a slightly brighter, fresher approach. Instead we are given clear, albeit slightly uninspiring drawings, and the pages are a trendy dove-grey, not white. And the writing style, while also clear, is fairly brief. Personally, I'm quite happy with a slightly more chatty style as I find it reassuring, and I would've simply preferred that bright, fresh, colourful approach, but that's just me. For these reasons, and because it's currently a tad expensive (what has happened to book prices in recent years?!), I'm knocking off a star. A book can only every really be a five-star knockout if it's also a bargain!
Summary: if you're a homeowner, whether male of female (males may have to swallow their pride), and no-one ever showed you how to do DIY (and you can stomach the price tag), then yes, I would recommend this book to you, even if it spends much of its time on the shelf (you're bound to get use out of it here and there, over the years). A reasonably attractive book, it'd also make a pretty good gift for new homeowners in this position.
P.S. I have my suspicions that some Vine reviewers neg my reviews in order to try to enhance their own rankings. Sad but seemingly true. If this review gets off to a negative start (and it probably will do) with more negative votes than positives, please take that into consideration. It may not necessarily be a reflection of the review but attempted sabotage!