Advantages Fabulous insight on so many levels
I was bought this as a Christmas present but due to other things going on have only just finished it. Like most I only became of aware of Richard Hammond, or the Hamster as he has become know because of his small stature (well physically anyway), when he first started as one of the 3 presenters on BBC's Top Gear. More recently he hit he headlines when the jet powered car he was driving (for a Top Gear feature) crashed at 300 miles per hour leaving him with severe head injuries.However as an autobiography should 'On The Edge' starts with Richards childhood memories, playing with his brother, family holidays, his interest in how things work, taking things apart to find out more and never being able to put them back together again.
It then moves on to his teens and early twenties, moving away from home, his time on local radio (the place where many TV presenters start out), how he met his now devoted wife Mindy, the financial hard times they went through and how his career progressed to the point where he made it as a presenter on Top Gear.Even though Richard Hammond is only 36, the first 34 years of his life are covered in the first third of the book. The other two thirds cover the last couple of years of his life from the ill fated day where he left the family home to drive the Jet car.
The book recounts in detail the extensive safety precautions that were taken, how the day was going really well until Richard decided to just have one more run in the car. As most of us now know the car suffered a blow out at close on 300 mph and ended up on its roof. Richard does remember quite about the accident and recounts this too, but no long after (not surprisingly) things get rather blurry.Up until this point the Richard was the sole author of the book and his style is relaxed, chatty, humorous and easy going. From now on, until not from the end it becomes a joint effort. Each event is documented from both Richards side and that of his wife Mindy, whose style seems very similar to Richards (although it is possible that independent editing has produced this style).
As mentioned above this takes approx 2/3 of the book and a lot of that covers the time spend in the various intense care and therapy units. They provide a fabulous insight into something that hopefully none of us will experience. It touchingly shows the strain put on the family, with the worry of whether a love one, although alive and physically well will ever be the same person again, the guilt and torment of wanting to be with the injured party whilst longing to be with kids. Then on the flip side you have Richards jumbled view, the panic, lack of general understanding - where am I, why am I here, why can't I go out.Just as fascinating are the latter chapters covering his recovery outside of hospital, from the actual mission to get him out of the hospital without the press knowing, the fears he had of the big wide world and learning to cope with it all including being a dad again.
All in all this book is fab on so many levels, the personal story, the insight into the life of someone who has suffered brain damage and likewise the impact on the family and how life is always a little different afterwards.Go on, live life on the edge, have a read.
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Pages: 344, Edition: 1st Edition 1st Printing, Hardcover, Weidenfeld & Nicolson
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Richard Hammond is one of our most in-demand and best-loved television presenters. On September 20, 2006, he suffered a serious brain injury...
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