The Top Gear Guide to Britain by Richard Porter

In brief: The guide to the fourth best country in the world as to what makes it tick.

The good: Quite funny in parts.

The not-so-good: The stock photos got on my nerves at time – more Top Gear pics please!

Why I chose it: I am a huge ‘old’ Top Gear fan (even though I have never seen ‘new’ Top Gear – and yes I know that ‘old’ Top Gear isn’t really the oldest Top Gear either)

Year: 2013

Pages: 159

Publisher: BBC

Setting: Britain, where else?

My rating: 7.5 out of 10

In my attempt to capture everything of the Clarkson/Hammond/May Top Gear years, I had to have this book. Why? It has the words ‘literally’ and ‘exploding’ on the cover. It’s also written by Richard Porter, who authors some pretty funny stuff. But this is not reeaaaaaalllllllly about Top Gear itself, it’s more of a self-depreciating humorous look at Britain with some pictures of the trio and the odd car or three. It’s definitely funny in places, but I don’t think it’s a definitive must buy for the hard-core Top Gear fan.

It’s also a bit confusing as to who is the audience for this book. Top Gear merchandise spans a wide range of ages, from picture books and dot to dot to books with no pictures for adults. I can see a Top Gear fan who doesn’t read all that much enjoying this book, any British person who enjoys a laugh at the vagaries of their country or teenage boys having fun. I guess it carries on the fact that Top Gear is quintessentially British, from James May’s endless cups of tea to Jeremy’s Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag. There’s no in depth look at any particular cars but rather an A to Z of Britain, starting with A1, The and ending with Zesty. It’s light hearted and gives you a giggle or three. There’s few digs at Australian and British rivalry in sport and comparisons between the British and other European nations. One thing that annoyed me was the crazy stock pictures – I don’t know why, it’s not logical! More Top Gear pics please!

It’s an easy read, and one I picked up on late nights or while grabbing a bite to eat. It would be a good rainy day read or for someone who doesn’t read that much.

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