When Monty Don's golden retriever, Nigel, became the surprise star of BBC's Gardeners' World, inspiring huge interest, fan mail and even his own social media accounts, Monty Don wanted to explore what makes us connect with animals quite so deeply.
In many respects Nigel is a very ordinary dog - charming, handsome and obedient, as so many are. He is also a much loved family pet. He is also a star. By telling Nigel's story, Monty relates his relationships with other special dogs in his life in a memoir of his dogs past and very much present.
Witty, touching and life affirming, Nigel: My Family and Other Dogs is wonderfully heartwarming. Monty Don is a great writer coming out of the garden and into the hearts and homes of every dog lover in the UK.
'I have always had a dog or dogs. I cannot imagine life without them. I am just as much a fan of Nigel as any besotted viewer. In the book I explore why we love dogs and what they mean to us emotionally and domestically. I look back on all the dogs in my life - all of which I have loved deeply and which have been an essential part of my life. So, this is the book of Nigel - but also the book of all our dogs in every British family and a celebration of the deep love we feel for them.' (Monty Don)
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Of dogs and gardens
I have quite recently discovered Don's show (the Gardeners' World), and I fell in love with that world of his garden, and his dogs. I was really glad to see his book available on Audible, and I do not regret spending a credit on it. Listening to the stories of family, dogs, gardens told by Monty himself was a special treat. I love how open and honest he is about his life, and he talks about some very personal and painful moments without ever going melodramatic or self-pitying. As a reader, and as a fan of his show, I respect that a lot.
He looks at his life and at lives of the dogs with the eyes of a gardener, who has seen fleeting seasons come and go, who daily deals with bitter losses and then hope.
The story of Nigel is told through the story of Monty's garden, and to fully enjoy the book, you have to watch the show at least once, and you have to love gardens (otherwise quite a large chunk of the book might seem boring, I guess).
I found this book utterly lovely, touching, and full of hope.