For a non-darts fan I was intrigued by this book, which was recommended by a friend, but didn't expect it to be such a great read.
Justin's books kept me interested in his journey and his challenge, allowing me to understand his motivation for his own challenge and the ups & downs he had through the course of the year. I loved how open he was to the reader in his emotions, his relationships and with his demons.
I could easily identify with his challenge, even though I knew little about darts and felt it could easily have been about any challenge that the author had set himself. He made personal sacrificies and found out more about himself, his friends and his passion than he had known before he started his challenge!
The story was funny and inspirational at the same time and I can now watch darts knowing slightly more than I used to before about the game, the players and the tactics involved and now have greater respect for the players for their tenacity that they have in pursuing a sport which may appear simple but clearly after reading this book takes great skill to master.
I enjoyed this book a lot. As well as learning a lot about darts trivia and about both the pub & the pro darts scene, but there is also a lot of fond recognition in glimpsing an England that many remember from their childhood, that most think is gone now, but that does still exists in not-very-well-publicised places. Great to hear the stories of hard core language, unapologetic consumption of alcohol on a grand scale, and quaint mini-traditions of darts that are adhered to and adored. Some moments of true humour as well; Justin's descriptions of his middle classness and consequent feeling out of place in the world of darts yet then realising that this only bothers one person - himself - made me laugh out loud. The incident of a fellow player cracking open a lager can at 8.45am on the way to a tournament only to be followed by Justin opening his bottle of Benylin to cries of disgust from his fellow travellers was also funny, as was the story of his drunken hug (barely reciprocated, it seemed) with Keith Deller. I think that most 30something middle class men in England would relate to a lot on this book and I recommend it. A mate of mine who finished it before he did, rediscovered his darts and then threw a 160 checkout the next day playing a mate at work, so maybe the book will help your darts as well!
My only criticism of this book is that it had to end. I thoroughly enjoyed it from the first to the last word. Obviously it's about darts (and that alone makes it worth the money for any darts lover such as myself), but it's so much more than that. What unfolds here is the story of a man chasing a dream and discovering so much about himself on the way. Add to this the experiences of the writer as he strives for acceptance amongst the professional darting community and what you have is a serious, and seriously funny, study of social boundaries in the UK. No punches are are held back either. I can imagine that are a few high profile people in the darting ranks who wouldn't be too pleased about their parts in all of this, but you have to admire the honesty in which the story has been told. Well written. Extremely funny when it needs to be and always entertaining. Highly recommended.
I bought this book, as I buy far too many dopey books about people travelling/trying their hands at something new/taking up a new sport etc. Most of them try to be funny and some of them are, many are just dull and self indulgent. The great thing about this one is it's not only funny, it's interesting and insightful - both into the sport and also the author. I used to play a lot of darts and it's really entertaining reading about the players and the sport and how it's changed since Deller. Coming from Ipswich I also love to hear it being described as glamorous! The best thing about it is that Irwin acts as a real ambassador for the sport - it's clear he really admires the players and enjoys the sport, what more can you ask for!
Never having had much of an interest in darts (following a series of unfortunate incidents in my childhood) I took a punt on reading this book based on nothing more than the catchy title. What I found was a funny, honest and often cringeworthy account of a man doing something most would never have the 'balls' to do. I had no idea darts was so complicated but Irwin 's style and passion enabled him to descibe these intricacies in such a way that they are easily understood by non-dartists like me. I am seriously considering buying a board and setting it up in the garage to practice - who knows where that might lead (blunt darts and porous bricks I expect)An excellent read that I would recommend to anyone.
This is a funny book. From one drunken conversation to playing Bobby George at Lakeside a year later, this covers it all. What I liked though was Irwin's real appreciation for the playes - both professional and pub standard. He has a genuine interest and appreciation of the skill and dedication involved in getting good at this game and tells a good story. Good insight on some of the characters of the game and the reality of life on the circuit. Good read.
I met this guy when he played at a tournament in Southampton, and it turns out he writes much better than he plays darts. Parts of the book are genuinely funny - such as when he stabbed himself in the face with his dart - but what was more surprising was that this turned out to be quite a touching story about following your dream. I loved it.