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4.5 out of 5 stars15
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 7 March 2013
This is a charming book written by an inspiring lady (whom I had the joy to see speak at the Brighton Science Festival). The book describes a battle with nature fought in a quiet Devon garden that turns into an adventurous project that reveals fascinating new facts and challenges some professional scientists' long-held beliefs. But this is a very human and heart-warming story too, and a story that will appeal to readers of all ages. Ruth's humility, curiosity and humour shine through, but so does her dedicated observation and knowledge of the lives of a creature that many of us would rarely give any attention to. A wonderful read for a Sunday afternoon and a great gift for animal lovers and snail-despising gardeners alike!
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on 8 June 2013
Written in elegantly pleasing style, this book not only captures the author's long love affair with the natural world, but also gives us a much deeper insight and knowledge into the microcosmal universe of the snail.

Although I haven't yet finished reading it I have already caught some of her enthusiasm and indeed liking for what I had previously deemed to be garden pests.
She also captures the atmosphere of a 1950's childhood well and I almost felt myself "back there".
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on 13 March 2013
This is a really sweet and nostalgic book. I remember being intrigued by the radio programme where she conducted the experiments. I'm also going to buy copies for my gardening-obsessed aunt and mother in law birthdays. We will banish snails from our hostias!!!
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on 28 April 2014
Written with an eloquence that rivals Ruth Brook's vast scientific curiosity, this little book proved to be a deeply inspirational account of how one woman made her peace with the molluscs invading her garden, and in so doing, found peace within herself as well. It begins as a nostalgic memoir of her childhood in the 1940s-50s, within the context of her enduring love of nature. Along the way, snails play a role in her memories, but it is not until she begins to wonder how to rid her flowerbeds of these "pests" without killing them that she takes a long-shot and enters the BBC Amateur Scientist competition.

From here on, the book becomes heavy on science. The author has a marvelous style of writing, a rare blend of entertaining and educational. She is quite enthusiastic about her subject, while her recounting of the trials, tribulations and successes of her homing instinct experiment, were, for this snail enthusiast, thrilling to read. Incidentally, Ruth Brooks has gone no little way in proving what most snail owners would already swear to - that they are far more intelligent than modern science would suggest, and in particular, snails have a memory.

Throughout the experiment, she is beset with challenges, which she overcomes with a positive outlook, and it becomes amazing, even to those few of us who are so fond of our gastropods, that such a tiny, seemingly unimportant creature as the snail could be the catalyst that so profoundly changed her outlook on herself, and her place in Nature. That all lives are of significance.

For mollusc lovers, this book is the Holy Grail of Snail Tomes. It was also very much uplifting, the sort of thing that restores one's faith in humanity. I found it an absolute pleasure to read.
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on 21 May 2013
This quirky little book is an easy read and combines nostalgia (although younger than the author I remember a childhood in the 50s), "detective" story and perhaps a solution to snails. At least I have resolved to try a season without little blue pellets. I have recommended it to friends of a similar age with gardens - whether it would appeal to a younger generation I don't know.
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on 10 November 2014
This book starts off being more about gardens than snails but about half way through it really gets into its stride and eventually becomes un-put-downable. It's so good to know I'm not the only person out there who thinks snails are beautiful creatures and finding out something about them (when I knew nothing at all) is fascinating. However, now I want more! As the book progressed I found myself thinking about other experiments that could be done and other things I wanted the answers to. I think a scientific book would be at too high a level for me, so come on Ruth, let's have volume 2 with some more experiments and a distillation of the science of how snails function.
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on 28 February 2013
A thoroughly entertaining tale of how a gardening grandmother became an unlikely scientist. Well written, funny and factual, this book was a joy to read.

I am neither keen on gardening nor snails, so I wasn't sure whether I would fully appreciate this book, but I enjoyed it immensely and Ruth's enthusiasm for science and life in general is an inspiration.
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on 6 July 2014
Fantastic! Interesting not just because of finding more about snails, but because it charted an older person's passion which she had obviously succeeded in sharing with others - family, local friends, and now an appreciative reader base. I gave it to a gardener friend who also enjoyed it very much
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on 8 April 2013
I bought this book to catch up on the author's experiments which I had heard about on Radio Four but missed the results.this is a lively and at times poetic book but it really comes alive halfway through when the project gets under way. A must for gardeners.
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on 28 May 2015
A lovely book that is so full of warmth. Ruth's writing is engaging, vibrant and reflective, and she writes in such a way that her empathy for these intriguing wee creatures oozes from the page - this above all made it a delight to read.
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