I don’t do many book reviews anymore of books that are sent to me. Mostly, because it was beginning to feel like high school again where the teacher kept assigning me books for English class. Sure, those books might have been interesting, but I had my own book list I wanted to get through and no matter how you slice it, interviewing vampires beats listening to maudlin women ramble any day.
But, once in awhile I get a book that I would want to read regardless of whether it came in the mail for free or not. And last week, that is exactly what happened. A small packaged arrived and the book inside looked just AWESOME.
“How To Survive A Garden Gnome Attack” is the title of the book, with a cover that recalls the cover of Gnomes book that I loved so much as a child (and still occasionally pull that much battered copy out today to read a page or so to my own kids). Having read and very much enjoyed such other survival manuals as “The Zombie Survival Guideâ€ and “Guide to Pirate Parentingâ€ and “The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbookâ€, I knew this was right up my alley.
The premise of the book is simple. You are in danger. You are about to die. Your adversary —garden gnomes. Your only hope — advanced preparation, diligence and a healthy amount of paranoia.
The book is a fun tongue in cheek look at gnomes as the enemy, and would be quite fun for any gardener to read. It is a light read and filled with delightfully demonic photographs of rampaging, blissful garden gnomes. This is a classic “giftâ€ book (just in time for Christmas) with eye candy pictures galore, breezy, fun content and a topic that just the title will amuse the recipient. Buy a half dozen and give them to all your gardening friends as gifts for a bit of a giggle.
And *BONUS*, I got to interview the author, Chuck Sambuchino (certified GDE – Gnome Defense Expert). Here is the transcript from that:
Me: What inspired you to write this book?
Chuck: Garden gnomes just creep me the heck out. I find them oddly disturbing, and thought that if they bothered me in a such a way, certainly they bother many more people. It turns out I was right. And as the public begins to learn more of their treachery and skills with edged weapons, the tide is turning against popular support for the average garden gnome (gnome hortus).
Me: What is your preferred gnome fighting object?
Chuck: A plastic snow shovel. When you’re fighting in close quarters, you have to maximize each swing, and a large orange snow shovel does just that. As an advanced gnome defense expert, I also may sometimes bust out a sledgehammer, but those times are rare. (On a sidenote, I do not advise newbies use sledgehammers. They are difficult to aim at first and take 3-4 seconds to recycle a swing.)
Me: Which came first, the text in the book or the photos? (Both are great but I could almost see someone spending time taking demonic photos of gnomes and then trying to go back to write a book around them, so I just wondered)
Chuck: Great question, and the answer is text. I passed in all the text, and the photographer tried to pick out parts he thought would make a great visual complement. The photos, taken by perhaps the bravest man on earth, turned out fantastic.
Me: Why do you think so many people put garden gnomes in their gardens? Why gnomes? Why not puppies or pigs or something else? I have always wondered this. What’s your thoughts?
Chuck: Garden gnomes were discovered in the forest, so it’s a centuries-old tradition to associate them with the outdoors. I think they’re in gardens because this awful Travelocity PR campaign has made them out to be symbols of happiness and gaiety. But we all know they’re actually vicious killers. I think having some puppies in the garden sounds like a wonderful alternative then being stabbed to death in your bed the night the gnomes finally come for you (and they will).
Me: Do you see any other seemingly benign objects as being a threat and therefore a possible subject for a future book?
Chuck: Mwahahahahaha, I cannot reveal all my other book ideas. I will tell you that one of the most common questions I get is about the danger level of pink flamingos and lawn jockeys. Further study is needed, but preliminary reports show that flamingos are essentially harmless ornaments with pea-sized brains incapable of a planned attack. As far as lawn jockeys? The verdict is not yet in, which means I consider them deadly gnome allies until proven otherwise.
So, lock your doors, gather the children close and spent an hour or so learning how you can keep youand yours safe from the ever present and nefarious garden gnome. This is a fun book.
Other fun sources about this book:
Witness an actual gnome attack so that you can understand the danger:
Reviews on other blogs
Carpe Geum: How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack
Dead End Follies: Chuck Sambuchino – How To Survive A Garden Gnome Attack (2010)
From My Corner of Katy: Are You At Risk?
One Woman’s Garden: Gardeners Beware! You are warned!
An Interview with Chuck Sambuchino, Author of How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack