Not fiction, but a series of articles that Clarkson wrote for The Sunday Times over a couple of years, which have been gathered together into a collection. On screen, in programmes like Top Gear and Have I Got News For You, Jeremy Clarkson is a very funny man. Not a comedian, but possessed of a sharp wit and an amazing turn of sarcasm that has me in stitches whenever I watch him.
The book has flashes of the same brilliance, but surprisingly they are only flashes. Whether reading it all in one go was a bad idea, or whether he’s funnier when he speaks than when he writes, or whether I was just in a bad mood, I’m not sure. But after creasing myself over the first few pages, my giggles turned to smiles and my smiles to frowns. Far too much of his wit is either deeply prejudiced or in shockingly bad taste. Would you suggest putting a statue of Hitler in Trafalgar Square, for instance? Nope? Thought not. But Clarkson does, and appears to mean it. Once the humour wears off, what’s hiding underneath isn’t always very pleasant, and too often the sarcasm becomes a rant. I did finish the book, but I can’t say I really enjoyed it.