When You Dead, You Dead by Guy Martin

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When You Dead, You Dead by Guy Martin

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Buy When You Dead, You Dead by Guy Martin at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Autobiography
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: The maddest year of his life is the subject of Guy Martin's second autobiography. It's rough and ready but will appeal to fans of the biker and those who like an adventure.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: October 2015
Publisher: Virgin Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0753556665

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It's a little depressing when a 34 year old is publishing his second autobiography, but that's what this book is, and Martin proves he's certainly not short on material. The author, for those of you who don't know, is a mechanic who dabbles in TV presenting and motorcycle racing, though it's the latter for which we he will be most well-known. As an F1 widow to a boy who likes all things fast, I thought he might like this book and so, perhaps unusually, I chose it with someone else in mind but made myself read it first.

If his first autobiography covered his first 3 decades on the planet, this one consumes a narrower timespan, what he calls the maddest year of his life, and it's hardly an exaggeration. As we join him, he's about to race Pike's Peak Colorado, a task that's not for the foolhardy or ill-prepared. A few bumps and near misses later, he wins, and it's off to the next thing, all the way narrating his every thought.

A few notes on style. This is very laddish. He writes as if he is speaking to you, and you get the feeling he just wanted to get the stories out as quickly as possible rather than spend ages drafting and re-drafting every sentence so it's beautifully crafted. He also likes to hammer home some mundane points, such as why he chooses to park in the long-stay car park at the airport rather than the short-stay one, EVEN THOUGH HIS DAD TELLS HIM NOT TO. Yup, Martin brings his family in on the action, jetting off to the other side of the world with his papa.

Despite his blokey ways, he endeared himself to me as the book progressed. This is a boy from the same school year as me, who has done rather well for himself but is still a northern lad at heart. He's not the sort of celeb who doesn't know the price of milk – though in his case it's beetroot juice, and it's bloody dear at £3 a litre. He knows what's worth a splurge (bike shoes) and where you can scrimp a bit (training kit from Lidl).

There are two main markets for this book (or three if you count the F1 widows who are being kind, generous people). One is people who are massively into bikes and will appreciate the technical nuances on every page. Some of these, I must confess, were lost on me. Generally, these people may be few and far between, but the second group is where the market truly is – anyone who likes a bit of arm chair adventure, seeing the world without standing up, going along for all the thrills and spills. The writing is infectious and while the descriptions are not delicate, you can't help but get a sense for the scenery whether he's in Grimsby, New Zealand or the Isle of Man.

I would have given this book a good rating anyway because it's perfect for its target market, but I surprised myself and ended up rather enjoying it. Thanks go to the publishers for supplying a copy.

Driven to Distraction by Jeremy Clarkson is a slicker read and focuses on 4 wheeled toys. It too would make a good gift.

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Buy When You Dead, You Dead by Guy Martin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy When You Dead, You Dead by Guy Martin at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy When You Dead, You Dead by Guy Martin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy When You Dead, You Dead by Guy Martin at Amazon.com.


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