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.
Justin writes with a frank, open and often amusing style that suits the subject matter well. And if much of what is revealed about this hidden (to most of us) world is a far cry from the televised sport we know, it is the details about the people, their motivations and personalities, and the closeness of this group of sportsmen that is most affecting.
Childhood memories of long afternoons spent in front of the world championship on telly, bloated from festive over-eating, are all you need to get into the spirit of things; actually, you don't even need that. Just a willingness to follow Justin as he takes a break from the rat race, pickles his liver and takes aim at sporting greatness.
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!
A wonderfully refreshing look at the Darts Scene from 'An Outsider turned Insider' - perhaps you could think to re educate the British Media as to the real enjoyment of a global market sport! and write your own column. The book was a scream Justin (had to skip some parts as the reminders were quite painful, especially the somewhat silent trip back from Hull.!!Poor Peter.. Emma - you deserve a medal for the 'Endurance Test' at Great Yarmouth in November.... Cold damp caravans, no wonder I never stayed there... haha Seriously - good luck with the book and your next venture to become World CHampion - Whoops to enter for a World Champs at Ping Pong National Levels.. All the best, A Bottle Blond.. xx
7 years later - after the darts scene! - picked Justins' book up again and it's made me reflect and laugh at the years gone by and smile at some of those 'incidents' along the way - I was driving when he popped open his bottle of Benelyn and Richie and Peter were only on the first beers!! Well reminds me to renew contact again and he spurred me on to study for my Degree (not in Darts :-) Great read - even now - Good luck and hope this book gets on 2013 Xmas list as it's a timeless read indeed, regards Caroline xx