Summary

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)
©2016 Monty Don (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton Limited
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Tony Swinton on 28-09-16

Excellent

If you love dogs and you don't need to be a keen gardener to enjoy this book
It's full of interesting stories of the dogs in the authors life some very funny and others sad on his feelings when a dog died
This is one book I will listen to again a beautiful flower in the long grass

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Bootie Boot on 25-08-17

Don't listen if you've recently lost a pet: it's quite sad

This is a charming book on many levels; a peon to the adorable Nigel, the golden retriever who stars on Gardeners World. Beautifully written and read by Monty Don, it describes Nigel's life to date, how the garden at Longmeadow has evolved in his life time (and earlier), and tells the stories of many of the other dogs that Monty has owned from boyhood. The writing is wonderfully fluent even if Monty uses a lot of cliches, and he describes the landscape with vivid clarity. I found it to be rather tragic however; given that Monty is pushing his sixth decade, he's owned a lot of dogs, particularly the large dogs who rarely live beyond 12 years. To my dismay he describes their ageing years and deaths in a lot of detail and his grief at their passing. I found this unbearably sad, and wish this part of the book had been reduced. I wouldn't re-listen due to this and I'm surprised at reviewers who said they listened to the book with their children (whom I expected to be traumatised!). But perhaps I'm too sensitive.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Svetlana on 29-01-17

Of dogs and gardens

What made the experience of listening to Nigel the most enjoyable?

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.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Miss V. on 06-03-18

The James Herriot Of Green And Growing Things

Would you listen to Nigel again? Why?

I will listen to Nigel over and over, and already have. I went through a terrible trauma — my mother and husband were both killed in tragic accidents months apart — and lost the will to live. I got a dog for company and moved to the country to isolate myself from the world. I started watching Gardeners' World, and seeing Monty working in his gardens each week with Nigel by his side comforted me. I began to buy Monty's various books and learned how gardening helped him get through many traumas of his own. He quickly became a huge inspiration to me. Because of him, I have a dream again, a single dream ... the dream of having a garden. Hearing him talk about gardening, especially how he created his own gardens from nothing but a patch of weeds, keeps me motivated to make my dream a reality, so when I heard he was releasing this book, I was really excited and bought it as soon as it came out. I thought being able to put it on any time I wanted would sort of be like having Monty here as a personal coach, motivating me, and that's exactly how it feels for me when I listen to it. I'm not getting anywhere fast, there are so many hurdles and it's difficult to tackle them entirely alone, but at least I have hope of getting SOMEWHERE, and that means everything to me. So I listen to this frequently, to keep the fire burning. Baby steps, baby steps....

What did you like best about this story?

The way Monty chose to alternate current times with stories from his past rather than just telling the story in a strict linear chronology. When jumps in a timeline aren't done well, it can be jarring and disjointed, but he handles the transitions so smoothly and elegantly, not only does it feel completely natural, but it feels like this is the way it NEEDED to be told.

Which character – as performed by Monty Don – was your favorite?

I loved Monty's voicings of Nigel's thoughts. Nigel is very stoic and serene on the show, but I was so pleased to discover he's absolutely hilarious in private. I wasn't expecting that at all! I found myself giggling and rewinding those parts quite a few times.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Each time Monty told the stories of how he'd lost each of his past dogs, especially Red. As he was reliving those memories, I could hear the catch in his voice as he was fighting back tears, and I found myself crying, too. For anyone who's ever lost a beloved companion, we all know that hard day is going to come eventually. It's a bond we all share, going into it knowing the price we're going to have to pay one day. As painful as it is, there's a certain kind of comfort in hearing other people's stories of goodbye and knowing we're not alone in our grief.

Those are the sad bits, though. There are many moments of pure joy. Nigel's passion for peas and frustration when Monty takes too long finishing breakfast tickled me.

Any additional comments?

If you don't know who Monty is, that doesn't matter. If you don't know who Nigel is, it doesn't matter. If you have ever loved a dog, are into gardening, or love all things English, you'll enjoy this book.

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