Customer Review

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars rambling and unorganised, July 26, 2011
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This review is from: Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me (Hardcover)
I tried to like this book. It is just so hard to get into. The author rambles on without any direction. I keep wondering, "What is he talking about now?" Even the author has a hard time figuring out what he's writing about. Case in point, the Introduction begins with:

"While I was writing this book, most people I know learned not to ask two particular questions: 'How is it coming along?' and 'What is it about?'... The answer to the first question was almost always a moan, often very long, sometimes monosyllabic. To the second question I would answer simply, 'Vegetables' and most of the time I really felt that it was enough of an explanation."

It's like while he was writing it, he didn't have any direction and was confused about where it was going. Sadly, that comes out when reading. The book suffers from a terrible lack of organization and identity crisis. Looking to the table of contents offers no insight either. It consists of:

Introduction
It's a green thing
Wild pickings
A passionate pursuit
Growing in the dark
Index
Acknowledgements
About the author

The chapter titles are meaningless and give no indication what is in them. The first chapter, "Its a green thing" is where the author starts rambling on about different kinds of vegetables like kale, asparagus and watercress. I wish the table of contents would simply say, Kale, Asparagus and Watercress. The author simply starts talking about different vegetables as if they came suddenly into his mind. Oh gosh, I should talk about asparagus now, blah blah. Suddenly and without warning, the chapter ends with a handful of recipes. It's like they got shuffled into the manuscript right before printing.

The next few chapters follow the same logic, or lack thereof. We ramble on about something garden-related, then toss in a few recipes. Every time I pick up this book I find myself scratching my head and wondering, "What IS this book supposed to be? A cookbook? A biography? An essay about gardening?"

The person who edited this book at HarperCollins should be sacked. The lack of organisation in both the book's layout and in the authors meandering writing is too hard to take. Like I said, I really wanted to like this book. It just goes nowhere and bounces around. First the author talks about a specific type of vegetable, then he tells a story like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on River Cottage. Ok this is good, I like stories. Then bang, there is a random recipe. Oh kaaay... How about just telling stories? How about just recipes? For heavens sake, just pick something.
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