The Amateurs

Narrated by: Angus King
Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
3.8 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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....

©2015 John Niven (P)2015 Random House AudioBooks

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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’d 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 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 plotline 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 marvelous job as Gary, Lee, Ranta, and the rest and is quite a master of accents. As I mentioned above, I did need to replay 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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  • Greg
  • 12-11-15

Funniest book I've ever heard/read

Never has a book made me laugh out loud as much as this one did. John Nivens best book in my opinion, however they are all great.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-12-19

Laughing all the way

Another great read from John Niven , great story and again had me laughing out loud ! Also great performance, only issue wasn’t long enough.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-22-20

Trainspotting meets Peter Alliss.

This is one of those rare occassions, in my experience at least, where the narrators peformance makes the book far more enjoyable than if I had read it myself. The story is superb and as a golf lover this is an instant favourite of mine and the narrator did all those wonderful (in their own way) characters justice.

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  • Mr. G. J. C. Gillan
  • 12-30-19

Excellent book well worth a listen

every golfers wet dream, laughed out loud. just do yourself a favour and have a read of it.

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  • Mark
  • 06-23-19

Every Amateur Golfer's Dream

So you're an amateur golfer who can't get below 18 until a freak accident gets you to scratch and The Open with only a few minor and hilarious side effects ie Tourette's Syndrome and a permanent boner! Cue significant absurdity and hilarity in typically outlandish Niven fashion. This is a very funny book and I recommend it.

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  • Gerard
  • 06-21-19

Most like Christopher Brookmyre but perhaps that’s the narrator...

A good read. Fun and pacy enough. But not so good as other JN stories. I can imagine Brookmyre coming up with the story line. The telling of the tale not so much. PS I’m not a CB fan.

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  • ATK
  • 05-12-19

Excellent !

I put off reading/listening to this book for a good while, as I've no interest in golf.. But having read several other John Niven books I eventually thought I'd give this one a go... So glad I did.. Excellent story, very funny and brilliantly narrated. Superb !!

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  • Andrew Hunter
  • 04-25-19

Birdie not an eagle

Overall I really enjoyed this book. Angus King’s narration is in the main every enjoyable. The author captures most of the travails of the amateur golfer, the highs the lows the self loathing and the joy when it goes right, far and sure. The story moves along at a good pace. The press conference and the registration for the Open were hilarious and cringeworthy, I was squirming for the lead character. The negative for me was that towards the end, some of the story around the Tourette’s felt labour and unnecessarily lengthy in the obscenity. I never really understood why the syndrome was not disclosed before he has every episode! Anyway, well worth a listen and I will be looking for other books by John Niven

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  • Rob K
  • 04-08-19

Loved it

Absolutely loved this, had me laughing my nuts off. Not being much of a golf fan, I wasn’t convinced I’d enjoy this, but this is one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to in ages. Fantastically narrated by Angus King.

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  • Chelsea Painter
  • 02-01-19

Brilliant

F@&K, C£&T, Bas&£rd. John Niven is a genius. If you love golf you will love this. BTW. There may be a rude word or two!

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  • Helen V
  • 03-31-17

Laugh out loud funny....

What made the experience of listening to The Amateurs the most enjoyable?

This book is laugh out loud funny (care required when driving) but probably should come with a language warning. Didn't worry us though as it really raised the believability of some of the characters. This book goes a long way to helping the non-golfers (us) understand the bloody single mindedness that some golfers have about the statistics of the game.

The narrator Angus King was terrific and appropriately accented which just added to the listening experience.

What other book might you compare The Amateurs to, and why?

Not quite in the same league as The Sunshine Cruise Company but very very close. On par with The Second Coming.