Book review - The Hole Opportunity by James Minter
Title: The Hole Opportunity by James Minter
Review by J.J.Collins
“The Hole Opportunity” by James Minter is an unexpected delight, providing a brilliant & hilarious take on the changes to modern farmers’ lives and proving that true, well written classic British comedy is not only present, but still very much alive and thriving.
Minter introduces us into the lives of the heavily financially burdened – Mr Colin Griggs and Mrs. Isobel (Izzy) Griggs who are struggling to carve out a living income, while working a farm in rural England. Colin Griggs is the fourth generation of Griggs’ to farm the land and is the archetypical, traditional, English farmer who is finding it difficult to adjust to the modern farming methods, forms and technology required to survive in these ever more bureaucratic times.
Colin Griggs is a stubborn, old-fashioned thinking farmer in his outlook and views everything as being a glass half empty, as opposed to being half-full. Isobel (Izzy) Griggs, is Colin’s long suffering supportive wife, who recognises her husbands failings, but loves him passionately and will provide the encouragement and momentum to encourage Colin in his ventures.
Colin and Izzy’s lives and destiny are changed one morning upon the delivery of a letter from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), advising them that all farming grants must be made through their website. This letter, brings major financial woe for the Griggs’ and unbeknown to them and others, will have far-reaching consequences on the Griggs’ and residents of the rural town of Henslow for a considerable time. Izzy Griggs ever the optimist makes every effort to encourage Colin to focus on their strengths and to develop an alternative means of income. Colin, down and dejected and bereft of ideas, finds miraculous inspiration in a pink glazed donut. What ensues is a comical and entertaining storyline of opportunity, errors, misfortune, coincidence and chance.
Minter manages to use and knit the very best of idiosyncratic characteristics of English rural life, incorporating the very real, yet flawed characters, which are unique to rural small-town English life. Colin Griggs uses a workforce of rabbits, an aging truck affectionately called “Old Alfred Mac” and the arrival of a certain Lady Diana Wills to the local Manor to spur his business venture onto entrepreneurship brilliance. We are introduced to the local Romeo like Green Keeper – Stewart Ballard, who has more then a fondness for Izzy Griggs. Then there is the influential life-long local Bank Manager – Steve Pryor, who’s last auspicious generous act prior to retirement has repercussions for Colin Griggs, and many in the village, including his own unsuspecting wife Julia. The consequences of Colin Griggs actions for elderly wartime hero Major Woods and his wife Margaret, who personifies the snobby busy-body type person in every little village throughout England, and the other unsuspecting locals of Henslow Village, are considerable.
The story is unconventionally crafted introducing unlikely scenarios, consequences and events combined with some extremely amusing tongue-in-cheek moments. The ill-fated & fumbling reporting of the young ambitious local journalist Jimmy Flanagan, who uses more than a creative air to his journalist style in order to secure that one big story. Jimmy is duly assisted in his quest for journalistic stardom by the local police brothers Billy and John Field, who are anything but the best that the English Constabulary has to offer the land.
Minter introduces every character in an inventive and timely progressive manner, developing the storyline and each character with a finesse and wittiness throughout, that will make you not want to leave the book down. Every act and opportunity brings the reader deeper into the lives and unfortunate happenings of the residents of Henslow, so much so, you literally have the sense of being an observer in this hilariously captivating storyline.
How will Colin Griggs business ventures turnout? How will his business impact the lives of those nearest and dearest to him? What will be the consequences for the residents quiet lives of Henslow and will Colin and Izzy Griggs avoid financial ruin?
Minter manages to deliver an exceptionally creative and imaginative comedy filled story, which will have your sides-splitting even for those silent quiet readers. A skilfully created book which combines the best of British rural life, with well developed characters, a curious and unpredictable plot and a level of hilarity not found for some considerable time. It exemplifies the best of British humour and comedy only found in the classic “Carry On movies” and another classic like “John Sullivan’s – Only Fools and Horses”.
I could not have anticipated a storyline involving the topics of holes and opportunities to be such an engrossing and enchanting read.
Minter has achieved a rare feat, in producing an outstandingly humourous book, leaving the reader wanting and waiting for the next instalment.
The book – The Hole Opportunity – is simply brilliant and a must read for anybody wanting a creative story and cleverly written fun filled book. Very highly recommended.
The book is available from all major online retailers
- ISBN-13: 9781466375185
- Publisher: CreateSpace
- Publication date: 12/3/2011
- Pages: 334
- Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.76 (d)