On the Edge: My Story by Richard and Mindy Hammond

I initially started this book with the aim to read it on my daily commute- I’ve read Richard Hammond’s other books and while I find them funny and entertaining, I’m sure his keyboard needs frequent replacement keys for the comma- he uses them that much. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book has just enough commas (maybe it’s his wife’s influence- if so, Mindy, can you please co-write with him in the future)?

The book starts innocently enough- a short trip through Richard’s childhood and how he became one of the hosts of Top Gear. We then move to Richard filming driving a jet car- which he then crashes and is seriously injured.

Mindy (his wife) then takes over- her shock and horror (including hearing on the radio how her husband was in a critical condition- she wasn’t aware at the time) and coping with two children and a menagerie of pets on top of a husband in ICU. She writes very well and I immediately transferred this to my ‘main’ book to read. I simply couldn’t wait for Monday to roll around to find out what happened next. 

Richard has brain damage and eventually comes out of ICU to a HDA-type area (high dependency) – he looks fine apart from a smashed eye and will talk dime a dozen to anyone. Unfortunately, he has a goldfish type memory and repeatedly asks for a cigarette or beer or to join the party. He just can’t remember that he’s had a crash and is in hospital.

Gradually though, his memory starts to return (I found the part where Mindy gives Richard the newspaper report of the crash to read very teary) and he is released from hospital. The problem is, how do you find somewhere for a Top Gear host to recover- in peace? Military precision allows the family to escape to seclusion to Scotland where Richard slowly recovers.

I’m glad the Hamster has recovered, Top Gear wouldn’t have been the same without him. This is a great book to read from a patient/family perspective of hospitals and yes, you will get references to Jezza and Captain Slow.

8.5 out of 10.

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