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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Winning despite everything
Mostly very, very funny with some fascinating behind the scenes descriptions of filming Engineering Connections, a doomed BBC pilot and Top Gear including the live stage version. Hammond writes fluently revealing a surprising emotional sensitivity perhaps heightened since his accident. However, he also has a tedious obsession with becoming 40 and with his clothes and...
Published on 5 Oct 2009 by Big Bus Fan

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing hamster
I have read the lads from Top Gear's books this holiday and I found Hamsters the most disappointing. He is obviously preoccupied by his up coming milestone birthday and never misses an opportunity to remind the reader of it. I would have expected more from him but sorry its Clarkson for me every time!
Published on 5 Sep 2011 by annie


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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Winning despite everything, 5 Oct 2009
This review is from: Or Is That Just Me? (Hardcover)
Mostly very, very funny with some fascinating behind the scenes descriptions of filming Engineering Connections, a doomed BBC pilot and Top Gear including the live stage version. Hammond writes fluently revealing a surprising emotional sensitivity perhaps heightened since his accident. However, he also has a tedious obsession with becoming 40 and with his clothes and appearance. The chapter 'Falling Apart' is hilarious and should be appreciated by anyone who has ever suffered intimate and humiliating procedures in hospital. With one or two hints that Hammond is far from recovered, there is an interesting sub-text on bullying and social exclusion. Hammond describes a school trip in which he took part in a bullying incident and claims he has never taken part in any bullying since. He also reveals his own dislike of some of the comments shouted out at him by members of the public. He seems happy enough to let his mates on Top Gear Live tease him when they discover he cannot remember the previous year's visit to South Africa but much less happy when strangers question his physical abilities and whether he actually did win the race on his bike across London. With stickers on the front to 'poke fun at the short bloke off Top Gear' you wonder if perhaps being on TV can sometimes feel like being in the stocks. But Hammond is very far from being a victim and shows an amazing ability to bounce back from adversity. He is one plucky Brit who will never finish last.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Funny Side of Serious, 27 Jan 2010
This review is from: Or Is That Just Me? (Hardcover)
Another good read from a very engaging and essentially very serious personality. Richard writes an engaging story of what it is like to be a celebrity who is admired by boisterous petrolheads but is essentially a sensitive artistic character. He is an skilled writer of comedy (he has always been a fan of the great PG Wodehouse) whose descriptions of the horrendous pain of having treatment for kidney stones manage to pull off the rare trick of making the reader laugh and wince simultaneously. As another reviewer has said there is a serious subtext here about bullying and social exclusion. Richard is a fair-minded character and is clearly embarassed about a frankly bizarre act of teasing that he took part in when 13. I was in the next dormitory to that imaginative but rather tasteless act of bullying and heard about it over breakfast the next day. It certainly put me off breakfast! Richard clearly wants to get some guilt off his chest and writing about it must feel as cathartic as losing that kidney stone. In fact bullying of much worse kinds was rife at the Solihull School at that time and Richard showed his character by taking a stand against it. It has not made him popular with many of the perpetrators. This book is both his way of dealing with ageing (although he still retains the good looks that make him popular with females) and his way of distancing himself from the aspects of the past that he despised. "Or Is That Just Me" is not just a jokey title but a hint that Richard often feels doubts and uncertainties about his fame and how he is perceived.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More tall tales from the short bloke ..., 17 Oct 2009
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This review is from: Or Is That Just Me? (Hardcover)
Richard Hammond confronts his scariest challenge, yet - his fortieth birthday! - and a mid-life crisis of apocalyptic proportions is the unavoidable theme in this highly entertaining book. Hammond's minutely observed, and occasionally melancholic style may surprise those accustomed to the chirpy chappie on TV -a character he himself seems to regard with wry detachment- but it makes him far and away the most unexpected writer of the "Top Gear" triumvirate.

Not that this book isn't funny - His horse riding adventures are genuinely hilarious, as is a disastrous drinking session on board HMS Illustrious. Even a harrowing succession of encounters with the medical profession is recounted with the gleeful relish of a man who regrets having no decent scars to show off in the pub.
It is, however counterbalanced with darker moments - sombre reflections on childhood and adult bullying, and succinct, throwaway sentences that remind us that, for all his determination to live his surreally colourful life to the fullest, he continues to live with the lingering aftershock of brain injury.

We are invited, with a rather lovely set of stickers, to `Poke fun at the short bloke off "Top Gear"', but he lands constant pre-emptive strikes on himself, deflating his own impatience, paranoia and vanity at every twist and turn. Whilst a certain self-defensiveness is clearly at work, the result is delightfully self-knowing, revealing a flawed but genuinely likeable human being beneath the hyperactive TV persona.

The book has its faults. Some chapters end abruptly, without proper resolution, or explanation. There are also weird inconsistencies in the text. On page 71, for example, he describes wandering across a landing in pyjamas that, on page 57, we are clearly informed that he doesn't possess. Now whilst the fact that the Hamster may or may not own a pair of jammies is not a matter of overriding magnitude in the grand scheme of things, it does cast some doubt on the innate veracity of what we are reading.

In the final analysis, since he cheerfully confesses to sometimes not letting the truth get in the way of a good story, maybe we should simply accept it at that. These are good stories, and we can only hope that Richard Hammond ploughs manfully on through his terrifying middle years to deliver plenty more of them. With no obvious sign of a follow-up on the horizon, however, we may be in for a wait.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing hamster, 5 Sep 2011
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I have read the lads from Top Gear's books this holiday and I found Hamsters the most disappointing. He is obviously preoccupied by his up coming milestone birthday and never misses an opportunity to remind the reader of it. I would have expected more from him but sorry its Clarkson for me every time!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can a bloke do?, 24 Nov 2009
By 
Y. Lawrence "Ozzyols" (GOSNELLS, WESTERN AUSTRALIA Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Or Is That Just Me? (Hardcover)
I have read reports that people complain that Richard spends a great deal of this book ruminating over the fact that he is "approaching 40" (he contends he would sooner "approach" a cornered tiger)

But logically what else can a bloke do who when faced with the undeniable facts that many of his age group in the midst's of their various mid-life crises will turn to fast cars and wild adventures to recapture their supposedly fading youth, you find yourself doing that - and have been doing that - for the past seven years! Writing a book about it seems like a bloody good option.

I devoured "On the Edge" in 24 hours and, only because work got in the way, "As You Do" in 48... Reading "Or Is It Just Me?" I set a personal speed reading time of a little under 8 hours, devouring the contents to the exclusion of all else.

With a wit and affable grumpiness at his impending 40hood, Richard manages to engage the reader at many levels. From the riot that is the chapter called "Falling Apart" to the culmination of 'adult like behaviour' whilst filming on the HMS Illustrious, Richard manages to poke fun at himself while reminding us why we love this 'short angry bloke' from Birmingham.

Thanks for all the laughs Mr Hammond - we need them!
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1.0 out of 5 stars not bad but not good, 6 Feb 2014
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Some of it was very funny but he waffled on a bit about the least important things that made me feel - get this over with and move on to something els.
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK but nothing special, 25 Oct 2013
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Occasional reading is OK but cannot compete with Jeremy Clarkson. Short chapters and stories make it very easy to read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, 4 Jun 2013
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A good book easy and enjoyable to read. Some entertaining and personal stories. Recommended if you are looking for something to read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bought it as a gift, 16 May 2013
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G. Clark - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Or Is That Just Me? (Hardcover)
Bought for the older guy as a gift and was good reading in comparison to his other books. More or less the same comments as the other reviews.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Sample only - Kindle - Scattered and rather ho-hum, 15 Oct 2011
I usually like Top Gear and most of the presenters' spin-off programmes and books, but this was the worst of the lot. The Kindle version starts off with a bunch of captions for photos that are nowhere near them (if they are visible at all?) and after a few pages, the actual book starts. The sample is very short and consists only really of the tale with the Morgan/Golf and stuff about Mongolian short longbows. I suppose they're both mildly interesting and written well enough, but they don't really go together. Most annoyingly of all, the short sample contained about 7 or 8 mistakes, no spaces after a full stop and similar. It felt to me like the publishers fed some giant book file through an automated Kindle converter and never checked the resulting eBook, giving the overall impression of a "quick! Get this out in time for Xmas!" lash-up. 2*
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Or Is That Just Me?
Or Is That Just Me? by Richard Hammond (Paperback - 27 May 2010)
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