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Book Review

The Amateurs


Written by: John Niven
Narrated by: Angus King
Genres: Humor | Crime
Published: 5th of November, 2015
Length: 10 Hours 29 Minutes


Listen to Samples:

Gary is a sweet and decent man. Only two things would improve his life - having children with his gorgeous wife, Pauline, and a lower golf handicap. Both are unlikely.

Pauline is wondering how she ended up living in an ugly little house, driving a second-hand car and making a living dressing up as Tinker Bell. She's planning to leave Gary for a self-made carpet millionaire.

Findlay, the Carpet King of Scotland, wants to trade in his obese wife for a younger model. But if he goes for a divorce, she'll take him to the cleaners. If only there was some way she could be made to disappear....

Lee, Gary's luckless brother, has botched one too many drug deals. Local crime overlord Ranta Campbell gives him one more job - one last chance to get it right. Lee's done some bad things - but murder?

When Gary gets smashed on the head by a golf ball and miraculously develops an absolutely perfect swing, everyone finds their fates rest on the final day of the Open Championship...


The Audiobook Review
Morgan Hobbes Morgan Hobbes


Average Score: 

Reviewed: 2020-07-01

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1 / 1 Found This Helpful

Plenty of laughs for your money. Well worth a read.
While on my search for a new audiobook to listen to, I came across an oldie but goodie that I’ve read countless times – The Amateurs by John Niven. If I was to make a list of the all-time funniest books I’ve ever read, this would be very high on the list. 1 credit later and it was in my library.

I originally bought this book way back in 2009 (I think?) after reading the blurb and knowing it was for me. This was back when I still bought paperbacks, and I even imported it from the UK because I couldn’t wait for shops in Australia to carry it.

I’m not a golfer, but you don’t have to be to enjoy this story. Yes, the main character is obsessed with it but mainly because of how bad he is at it. Until one fateful day, he cops a golf ball to the head and his whole life changes. Sort of for the better, but a lot for the worse…

This book isn’t for the easily offended. After our hero Gary catches a golf ball in the side of his head, he wakes up a little changed from who he used to be. The change for the better is that he’s suddenly no longer the worlds worst golfer. The blow to the head has rendered it impossible for Gary to make a bad shot. He quickly climbs the ranks of his local club and even makes it through to the British Open where he gets to play alongside his golfing idol.

The downside is he’s also woken up with a Tourette’s syndrome and… well, an insatiable need to pleasure himself whenever he’s stressed.

The secondary plot line involves his wife who is cheating on him with the carpet king of Scotland, his useless brother Lee and local crime boss Ranta, all of which plays out a story reminiscent of say Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.

There’s a lot of heavy Scottish-ness in the story which doesn’t bog it down too much even if I did have to replay a sentence once or twice the first time to understand what was said.

The narrator, Angus King, does a marvellous job as Gary, Lee, Ranta, and the rest and is quite a master of accents. As I mentioned above, I did need to replay a sentence once or twice because of the accents, but I don't think detracts from the story. They lend a certain authenticity to the characters.

You also get a real glimpse of what such a horrible affliction Tourette's would truly be. It's so often played for laughs (and indeed in this novel) but I think a real take-away from this is just how hard living a life with that syndrome would be.

All said and done though, there are plenty of laughs for your money - or Audible credit. Well worth a read.



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