Sunday, February 03, 2008

    Worst Book Ever: A Review

    It's hardback, with a delicious cover and a red ribbon to mark your page.

    I loved "Toast" and bought this for myself for Christmas.
    I could hardly wait to open my present and get stuck in.

    Yet it's taken me until February to finish it.
    Because it was bad.

    Unstructured, somehow bypassing an editor, repetitive in parts, lacking cohesion, flow, narrative. It's like Nigel Slater vomited and i'm getting corn, then peas, then apple pie, some more corn, a chunk of meat, an then a prawn, from the entree, which technically, should have been at the beginning. A mess.

    I distinctly remember reading one .. vignette ... ( the book is made up of these ... thoughts... calling them 'chapters' seems absurd - each ..thought.. is unrelated to either the preceding or following thought and lasts for about 2 pages ) .. and thinking 'didn't I just read this ?

    Nope, it was the same thought, but 100pages on.
    Nigel does this a lot, with only the slightest variation.

    For example - one vignette was on Digestive biscuits. Sixty pages later, Slater decides to visit the Chocolate Digestive. Way to go, Nige'.

    He deals with 'Chocoholics' on Page 84 .. and then again on Page 221.
    The imagery is copy'n'paste, some of the key descriptive words the same.

    Did he think no-one would notice ?!?!

    Submitted as a high school paper, it would have returned with red angry lines all over it and a "NO ! NO ! NO !" either scrawled up the top or in a margin in frustration. The teacher would not have finished reading it, and it would have been marked with a "C-". Nigel would have had to see her after class to discuss it ( it's a she teacher, as I have someone in mind from Yr9 at my own high school ;)

    Some other chapters that should have been combined and dealt with as a unit:

    P.19 - Lunch on a Bench
    P. 103 - Eating in the Street
    P.125 - Eating Outdoors
    P.146 - The Suburban Day Out Lunch
    P.217 - The British Lunch Out of Doors
    P.242 - The Packed Lunch
    P.268 - Eating With Wasps

    There are also repetitive snippets all over the place on sauce, biscuits, gravy, mints and cakes.

    Note the page numbers.
    They're all over the shop. You're over a topic, onto another, back to the first topic.
    Awful. Just awful.

    At least the cover is pretty.


    h&b said...

    Oh - and I just loaded all my 2007 piccies onto a DVD ( 5GB ) as opposed to a CD ( 700MB ).


    Frogdancer said...

    Geeze, stop being so tactful about the book. Why don't you tell us how you REALLY feel???!!!!!

    h&b said...

    I know.

    After I finished writing this last night, I turned to the husb. and said "Gee, I hope I don't get sued !" :)

    Christie said...

    yikes! what was his editor doing, having a long lunch!?

    well a guess you wasted a few hours of your life...

    dottycookie said...

    I'm with you - well almost. I didn't even like Toast ...

    Melody said...

    You're right. At least the cover is pretty.

    Lazy cow said...

    Right, taking it off my reserve list at the library RIGHT NOW.
    (First day childless, feels...odd).

    My float said...

    Hey, you can also load pix onto a USB thingy.

    I think you should write to the publisher and set out all your concerns. Then pitch for the job. You'd be marvellous at it.

    The cover is very pretty. Which is why they say "Don't judge a book..."

    Fairlie said...

    A DVD! Of course. Thanks! That's what I'll be doing.

    Hmmm...perhaps the editor was off eating with wasps when he/she should have been giving it a good once-over with the blue pencil?

    Louise said...

    He needs to be as succinct as our friend Gordon Ramsay - he'd have got it sorted!!

    h&b said...

    Yes, I would have appreciated an interjection of 'this is fucking bullocks !' to get old Nige' on track ;)

    But I have a bit of a G.R. girly crush, so i'm biased :)

    bluemountainsmary said...

    And you my dear have just saved me a small fortune. Since I won't buy this book now.

    Thanks for that!

    nutmeg said...

    Hi H&B! Sorry it's taken me soooo long to come visit but it seems my first attempt at a "return" was rather ill-timed!

    Anyway, onto matters at hand - I thought I would return to the babbling sounds of a new bub? Soon?

    Also, you should get paid for this review. I investigated it before I left for London - being just as tickled as you about it (yes; it is a lovely cover). But I started to read some grumbles about it; and the grumbles just grew louder and louder. It seems most agree with your very observant post here!

    Lucky I didn't buy that signed copy I saw - even the reduced price didn't tempt me. A signed copy of Toast - now that would have been a different matter.... ;-)

    meggie said...

    A book to avoid it seems.
    Life is too short to spend reading bad books!

    dancingmorganmouse said...

    That's pretty much my view of Toast - I just didn't like it - so I didn't bother with this one!

    jorth said...

    I haven't read it, but it sounds like they have just cobbled together a whole book's worth of his articles for the Observer. Nice to read once a week in the Sunday supplements, but not really going to cut it as a whole book, ja?

    Holly & Scolly said...

    I have to say, I'm inclined to agree with you re the book. Very disappointing.

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