Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
instructive delights, stoical good humour
on 28 March 2012
I was surprised to see the star rating - then I realised that someone had given the book one star because she thought it was by the Clarkson person. Thus degrading poor Jeremy Clarke's star rating because of her own silly mistake, which is a pity. This book is a genuine rarity. JC says in one section that he has fews strong opinions left, and that seems to me exactly why this is such a valuable, as well as an entertaining, read. JC reports back from the front line of lives that I doubt so many Amazon reviewers are in touch with; of course, there's no way of knowing how much of this has actually happened to him, but it generally rings true to me. And he reports with an extraordinary degree of acceptance, taking people as they are, not throwing judgements around as so many of us do. His skill as a writer (he calls himself a hack - nonsense!) means he doesn't need to pass judgement or generalise. He simply reports back, wryly and calmly, and the events and people themselves say it all for him. He can leave me deeply moved, and then a couple of pages later I'm laughing out loud. He has that melancholy perception that the whole culture is going to hell, or even has done so, which conservatively-minded people often have - he writes about "civilisation" as a past event - but nearly all the time the perception only comes out through the description. And it's a pleasure to read the little essays consecutively, rather than once a week. His sense of the comic potential of human absurdity sometimes makes me think of Wodehouse, and his observational skill, and the immediacy of his contexts, makes me think of Orwell. No comparisons intended or needed. It's a cracking little book - varied, thought-provoking, very funny, sometimes disturbing.
If half of what he writes about himself is true, he really does need to take rather better care of himself - I'd love to read a sequel!
And NB it's got nothing to do with overgrown schoolboy petrol heads, for goodness sake.