September 22, 2009

Book Review: On The Edge

On The Edge
by Richard Hammond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been a huge fan of Top Gear for ages, but it surprised me to learn that Richard Hammond had been in a life-threatening crash during the 2006 season. The book gives a decent background on Hammond, but mainly chronicles the events of the crash and the aftermath--how he and his family deals with a traumatic brain injury.

There's something about a near-death experience, a tale of personal grievance where you think the protagonist might not make it, that shows you and how bloody raw and difficult life can be--even when you haven't crashed a jet-fueled car going 300 miles an hour. The trouble is, Hammond's not that fantastic a writer. He's all right, just a touch boring at times. Luckily, his wife Mindy (with whom the book is co-written) is both sweet and engaging, and keeps you going with how remarkably competent and terrified she was while going through it all. The books has remarkable recall and detail, and is a great read for anyone dealing with a traumatic brain injury, or anyone who is a sucker for coming-back-from-the-brink narratives.

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