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Philip Vincent (Aberglasslyn, Australia)

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Gridlock
Gridlock
by Ben Elton
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable if not entirely memorable., 25 May 2007
This review is from: Gridlock (Paperback)
I actually retrieved this book from my bookshelf thinking that it was one of those many books I have purchased over the years but never had time to read. Rather ironically, considering the subject matter of the book, I now find myself commuting to work by train, and have time to catch up on my reading. It was not until about a dozen or so pages into it that I found myself thinking that there something was familiar, and realized that I had read the book before but could not really remember much about it. Not a good start I thought to myself - must be a great read if I cant remember it! But I needn't have worried, Ben Elton is at his witty best with this book.

First let me say, I am an Ben Elton fan. I absolutely love Elton's obtuse and over the top descriptions. To my mind they are some of the funniest aspects of his writing, and this book abounds in them. Along with witty one liners and some very descriptive physical humour for good measure, this book excels. I actually found myself apologising to people for laughing out loud on the train or in the lunch room at work. Fortunately, I was reading at home at one point in the book which caught me so violently by surprise that I actually swore out loud too.

The hero's of the story are fleshed out enough that you feel an empathy toward them, especially when you realise that they were not what you expected, with their differences introduced almost as an aside, which makes them all the more attention grabbing.

My only criticism, and it is a very personal one, is that I was reading this book as someone who moved from Suffolk to the Australian "bush", and grew up with the nearest town of any size being almost 200km away, with non existant public transport. I have always seen the car as the very symbol of freedom that Elton was trying to dissuade us from. I couldn't help thinking that some of the critisism was unfounded, or at least quite subjective.

All in all though, I loved reading this book (again), and would happily recommend it.


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