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There's A Hippo In My Cistern: One Man's Misadventures on the Eco-frontline [Paperback]

Pete May
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 July 2011

The hilarious true-life tale of one man's journey from self-confessed planet-killing lad to eco-friendly, green-crusader Dad set against the backdrop of Cool Britannia, Blair's Britain and the rise of the green movement.

Back in the nineties, Loaded journalist, Pete May was your normal twenty-something male: a football mad, beer guzzling, Dr Who watching lad's lad, quite happy surrounding himself with countless pizza boxes, beer cans and other environmentally unfriendly consumer items. Recycling to Pete was a debate about whether he should turn his socks inside out and reuse them.

Then one day, out of nowhere, along came eco bunny Nicola – a greener than green environmental activist. Could two people so different really fall for each other? Would Pete ever change his ways and sign up to the green lifestyle of composting loos, freezing cold houses, multiple jumper wearing, chicken rearing, recycling, cycling, energy saving and general self-sufficiency?

This is the charming and funny true-life tale of one man's struggle to grapple with the good life, go green and get the girl.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (29 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007264313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007264315
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,077,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pete May's most recent book is The Joy of Essex: Travels Through God's Own County. His other books include, There's A Hippo In My Cistern, Rent Boy, Hammers in the Heart and West Ham: Irons in the Soul. As a journalist he has written for the Guardian, Observer, Independent, Time Out, Loaded, Midweek and numerous other publications. He is visiting lecturer in Sports Journalism at the London College of Communication. Once an Essex Man, he now lives in London with his wife, two daughters, a dog named Vulcan, three chickens and a large collection of West Ham programmes.

Product Description


Time Out, 12th June "Funny and rather heart-warming."

'Six months ago Pete May thought that 'Carbon Footprint' were a band who did a couple of Peel Sessions. That being said, the lad can write, and all on a pedal powered laptop...' - Phill Jupitus

Book Description

Pete May is a wonderfully funny writer... This is, in fact, a love story disguised as a palatable, funny, inspiring and probably the only really readable, non-patronising guide to a greener life.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The agony and ecstasy of being green 16 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Pete is a bloke. A loving, tolerant bloke but one none the less. He likes football and Star Trek. He is married to Nicola, a fully-fledged eco warrior who likes living with chickens, mice and spider plants. This book is the saga of how Pete comes to terms, and eventually accepts, the greener way of living as championed by his wife. It's The Good Life with contemporary music references and it is very very funny, not least because it challenges the female dominance of the green world. Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not easy being green... 17 Oct 2008
Meet Pete, a football-loving, lager-drinking `lad' who discovers the grass (and life in general) really can be greener on the other side of singledom.
A love story with added activism, There's A Hippo... pokes fun at the over-earnestness of the green movement without losing the message that we should all be trying to act more ethically.
This is a great read that offers inspiration for those of us who are still many shades of green lighter than Pete and Nicola.
And as for the (mis)adventures with a mini flock of hens - who says men can't write chick-lit?

There's a Hippo in My Cistern: One Man's Misadventures on the Eco-frontline
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good way to see through the eco haze 15 Oct 2008
I loved this book and the way it introduces the difficulties of trying to be green in a modern life. the hero and heroine show also how real eccentrics think they are normal. Read it now and laugh out loud
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shazzers review 6 Oct 2010
This book really rang true and is written in a very authentic voice. There's
rather a sweet love story in there between two different people who learn to adapt to each other's eccentricities and love their family.
As for the enviromental points it makes, I've changed small things in my life and thought about green issues far more after reading this green rom-com than through guilt-ridden articles or TV programmes.
Looking forward to the film!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and touching 'eco' rom-com 17 Sep 2010
Pete May's book had me snorting with laughter on the train as he describes his often hapless attempts to woo the woman he loves. This real life rom com from the bloke's perspective is really funny and really touching. It was also interesting to see how the author's initial bewilderment when faced with initiation into the 'eco-world' of his true love has over the years become an authentic and unshowy commitment to living a more ethical life. If you like romance, a personal journey, English eccentrics and above all a hilariously good read then you'll love this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drawstrings and duck-fat 12 Oct 2008
My husband had bought the book for me, and I found him squirreled away chortling to himself, refusing to share what he was reading until he had finished. Finally, curiosity piqued, I nabbed it from him - and it had me laughing out loud too. Uncannily we've had many similar conversations as those between Nicola and Pete. My husband is reassured that I now hang out with drawstring-trouser'd, duck-fat covered eco-nutters with the best veggie patches in the UK.

If you need a break from the eco staple diet of doom and gloom, this one is for you, for sure. It has a serious message there, but it is served up so lightly and entertainingly it will change your hue (of greenness) without you even realising.

An utter delight, for sure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eco bunny meets lager lout footie fan! 25 Sep 2008
By Carolez
I loved this book - it's funny about serious issues - but that doesn't belittle the issues rather it make the messages hit home all the more.

The book explores, with much humour, the relationship between a stereotypical lager drinking, footabll loving, macho male and an equally stereotypical gentle, geeky, committed eco friendly tree hugger who, with her eco friendly bunch of posh eccentrics, seeks to save the world.

There's lots to learn from the book about the consumer driven society that we're all responsible for but there's also a beautiful love story and it was an absolute delight to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative 3 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A nice funny read: despite Pete's haplessness in the world of Green, I ended up much better informed on matters environmental than I was at the beginning - and this was not only painless but entertaining. Someone should give him a job in Green PR...
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