Top critical review
57 people found this helpful
on 3 November 2011
I wish I'd been warned beforehand. A new book by JC is a must-have for any self-respecting British petrolhead, even if it's one of his works which only mentions cars in passing. This latest opus is 100% cars, but the trouble is, it's simply a thrown-together collection of Jeremy's reviews for the Sunday Times since 2008. Which is all very well, unless you happen to be a Sunday Times reader,because if you are,that means you've seen all of this stuff before, except if you skipped an issue.
Now innumerable journalists have published anthologies of their newspaper articles, from H.L. Menken via Flann O'Brian to Hunter S.Thompson. Perhaps the best-known example is Charles Dickens. But Jeremy Clarkson, despite being a fine contemporary writer, is no Charles Dickens. And I used the expression 'thrown-together' to describe this collection seriously. You see, in nearly all of these separate reviews,the phrase 'in the picture above' recurs. The trouble is, there are no pictures, unlike when the article first appeared in the paper. Maybe this is for copyright reasons, or something like that, but even the most ardent petrolhead is hard-pushed to have such an encyclopedic knowledge of the motoring world that he can conjure up a mental image of every car Mr Clarkson refers to.
So the repetition of 'in the picture above' niggles at first, then becomes irritating, and finally leads the reader to feel negative about the book as a whole. It's not just bad editing, it's a sign of no editing at all, and that's why I give this one only three stars. The writing itself is just as much fun as ever, and the timing of publication for the paperback version impeccable: it will end up in any number of Christmas stockings without a doubt. But it's a bit of a cheap shot.
'Could have tried harder'.