Being known amongst my family as a keen gardener, I was bought this book by my sister as she'd seen it in a charity shop and it was in good condition. Bless her, it was actually on my Amazon wish list so I can now delete it and save those Dooyoo vouchers to buy something else instead!
Content / Opinion
It's a small, notebook size collection of spotlighted looks at 41 different allotment owners and tries to celebrate their differences and eccentricities. In the introduction, the author, Chris Opperman tells the story of how he first became fascinated with allotments on a bob-a-job week with cubs and how his local allotment was also the place where he had his first smoke and where his mate had his first kiss - all milestones along the road of growing up. He also gives a potted history of the allotment followed by a vision of what the future holds for allotments in the UK. The future's bright, the future's green as growing your own is becoming increasingly popular in the UK.
The 40-odd allotment holders that he shows us a small glimpse of are a varied bunch - the retired couple whose plot is on a site that doesn't allow sheds or the growing of vegetables, only summer houses and flowers, 19 year old agoraphobic Kathryn who finds enjoyment from being on her plot, and the man who grows his own tobacco (he must be down south, we don't get the weather for that in Lancashire!).
Each vignette is accompanied by black and white photographs of the plot holder and their site. I thought that the monochrome of the pictures was in stark contrast to the colourful words and descriptions of the plot holders, but looks good and works well even though black and white usually has a tendency to make things look moody.
I'd suggest that if you were to get this book, you would be disappointed if you were expecting a sit down and read type novel - it's more of an extended magazine article length and works better on the coffee table or in the downstairs toilet - but not on the allotment with you as those muddy fingers would ruin the pages!
I found the variety offered by the different plot holders to be interesting, and took some enjoyment from that. I wouldn't say that I enjoyed it as much as the Lord of the Rings trilogy or The Watchers by Dean Koontz - it's not the sort of book where you punch your fist in the air upon finishing the last page and high-five yourself on a damn good read. However, for a "quick two minute, pick me up off the coffee table whilst waiting for the adverts to finish" type of enjoyment, it works - if you have an interest in allotments, gardening etc.
I would recommend it as a stocking filler for those who have an allotment, but not a main present as it's not substantial enough.
A mildly amusing little book about allotment holders in the UK, entertaining enough to hold my interest, but quite short. 3 stars from me - it's not "beefy" enough for more than that.
Category - Humour
Publisher - New Holland Publishers