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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable if not entirely memorable.
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...
Published on 25 May 2007 by Philip Vincent

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing.
I love Ben Eltons books. When shopping for holiday books i found it hard to decide between this one and 'This other eden'. I'm so glad i bought the latter! I went on holiday to find this avaliable on the campsite to borrow. It was ok, not the worst book i have ever read but i had such high expectations. Only the last few pages of the book reminded me of the Ben Elton i...
Published on 4 Sep 2004 by Mayumiwinn


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable if not entirely memorable., 25 May 2007
By 
Philip Vincent (Aberglasslyn, Australia) - See all my reviews
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ignored satirical wisdom, 18 Aug 2006
This review is from: Gridlock (Paperback)
I'm judging this book irrespective of Elton's stand-up, which is certainly not to everybody's liking. Elton likes to talk about subjects irrespective of social taboo, so much so that it might make you feel a little uncomfortable at times. His literary satire is incredibly well observed though and through it he makes some good points about the thoughtless attitudes that are proliferated throughout society. Gridlock is all about cars; our ridiculous reliance upon and reverence of a machine which is supposed to be a symbol of human liberty, but is actually more of a tin can confinement. It's message is a little bit on the green side and one may get a little tired of a writing style that seems, at times, to try too hard to be funny. But a highly imaginative plotline, loveable underdog characters and a few gems of satirical wisdom kept me turning the pages. I've read a few of Elton's books, but his older stuff (namely this title and `Stark') is undoubtedly the best.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing., 4 Sep 2004
By 
Mayumiwinn (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Gridlock (Paperback)
I love Ben Eltons books. When shopping for holiday books i found it hard to decide between this one and 'This other eden'. I'm so glad i bought the latter! I went on holiday to find this avaliable on the campsite to borrow. It was ok, not the worst book i have ever read but i had such high expectations. Only the last few pages of the book reminded me of the Ben Elton i was used to reading. In the end, if you really want to read this then it would probably be best if you borrowed it at the library.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A dreadful read, 28 Aug 2009
By 
Mr. W. J. Lamin "Cornish Reader" (Cornwall, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gridlock (Paperback)
I finished the book - only because I was stuck on a plane with little else to do.

This must rank as one of the worst books I have ever read - despite Ben Elton's obvious talent.

The plot is silly, the action is just not credible, the characters were one dimensional and the style was irritating.

I enjoyed "First Casualty". In that book, perhaps Mr Elton moved away from the superficial to something serious, and was successful there.

"Gridlock" must have been bought by a publisher as they knew that the Author's name would sell copies, whatever the quality. If he'd submitted this anonymously, it would certainly have ended up, quite correctly, in the bin.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Seriously disappointing, 8 Nov 2006
This review is from: Gridlock (Paperback)
This offering was substandard to say the least. First of all Elton's attempt at preaching to his reader is artless and unsubtle. Entire paragraphs are dedicated to pointing out the abuses of the automotive industry, or how bad cars are for the environment, without any attempt to be witty or relevant to the plot. The book therefore amounts to mediocre humour interspersed with letters to the editor. Secondly, there are several Americans in the book who sound extremely British and use expressions and terms no American would ever use. Instead Elton relies on crude characterisations of American oil-company baddies with British vocab. Lastly (and I do acknowledge my own pedantry here) the book was FULL of mistakes, particularly punctuation but also grammatical. I found this extremely irritating and distracting. I wanted to take out a red pen, correct the mistakes, and send it back to the publisher with a note suggesting their editors actually make themselves useful. I am so glad this book was lent to me and that I didn't spend any money on it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as funny as I'd hoped., 22 Jan 2002
By 
Mrs. A. C. Whiteley "AllieW" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gridlock (Paperback)
Although very funny in places, and tackling very important issues, this is not an amazingly well written book. Apart from glaring grammar glitches and the like, Elton sometimes gets bogged down in the (extremely important) moralizing which gives the book a somewhat disjointed feel. Perhaps more judicious editing would have been in order. The sort of book you read once and then pass on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yawn!, 18 Aug 2007
This review is from: Gridlock (Paperback)
I expected much more from Ben Elton than this. I couldn't even get past the first few pages. Actually, after Gridlock it all went down hill and I have read most of his books. His previous books like Stark was hysterical, Eden was amusing, Gridlock..zzzzzzzzzzzz.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Warning - author in training, 14 July 2008
By 
This review is from: Gridlock (Paperback)
Having read a handful of Ben Elton's other offerings, I looked forward to another extrapolation of human behaviour full of believable characters and peppered with humour. Boy was I disappointed.

In Gridlock, Mr Elton is very clearly still learning his craft and has yet to distinguish the less than subtle differences between scripting his stand up show and writing a novel. There is the germ of a good idea, but it is ruined by his constant sidetracking in to either a moralist lecture or a semi-humorist aside in the `ranty' style for which his 80's stage act was well known. His characters are stereo types with perhaps one notable expectation, unfortunately rather than allow this single well rounded character to teach us the lessons the author has acutely observed the public could do with learning, he cannot resist lecturing us on the prejudice of society and by implication our own short sightedness and therefore I suspect alienates those he thought he would reach. The overuse of shock tactics, in the language, the descriptions of the action, the storyline and in the statistics quoted during the lecture sections assume a total lack of intelligence and in the end numb the reader to the point of ceasing to care about the book and the cause.

Ben Elton is a surprisingly good author, but from this offering, you would not guess it. Unless you are a particularly blinkered, sub intelligent, car hoarder - you will likely find this book irritatingly patronising. Put it down and read Inconceivable or Dead Famous instead.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The least impressive of Ben Eltons books., 28 May 2004
This review is from: Gridlock (Paperback)
Having read a few of Ben Eltons books, and enjoying them immensely, I was expecting the same from Gridlock. After a few dozen pages I realised that there was something different about this book. I found the humour didn't strike the right cord with me. If anything the humour irritated me. It was almost an overdone Black Adder type humour. Its one of Eltons earlier books (1991), I think, and can only assume that he hadn't got out of his Black Adder/Young Ones phase. However it was a good story, and a half decent book, it just wasn't as satisfying a read as 'Popcorn', 'Dead Famous' or 'High Society', which I enjoyed much more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A top crass book by a top class author, 24 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Gridlock (Paperback)
This book has everything I could possibly want from a book. I has fantasy, sex, action, conspiracy and great laughs. I would recommend this book to anybody who has ever laughed, I can guarantee you will laugh again whilst reading this book.
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Gridlock by Ben Elton
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