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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

What listeners say about The Amateurs

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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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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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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.

1 person found this helpful

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Really made me laugh

I was recommended this book by two friends who like me love golf but are shit at it.
A golf book for all.
It is the first ever book I've done in less than two days on audible.
Laugh, cringe, and just enjoy this hilarious tale of dreams, and maybe too close to reality at times story.
I really did enjoy this.
It would be very easy to compare this to an Irvine Welsh book, but no.
John Niven has done something different that is easy to see if you're a Jock (Scot).
I have no doubt people will compare them, but don't.
The narration was superb. Angus King does a fantastic job of making it real.
I am a massive fan of Irvine Welsh and Tam Dean Burn , but now I've got two new people to follow on audible.
I recommend giving this a listen, and I'm sure you'll struggle to put it down.

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cracking

love love loved it. John nivens books are all so different but all brilliant

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Laugh out loud hilarious.

Very earthy, if you're offended by swearing and vulgarity, this is not for you, but oh my, it's laugh out loud time with this book.
I kept imagining Angus King recording this, and that made it doubly funny, what a time he must have had, TY Angus, you're so good. I'm laughing again just thinking of it. Won't be long before I listen again.
My first book by this author, tempted to try more, but the narrator made the experience, I doubt another could be so very good.
Funniest book in Audible's library!

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A book of surprises

I had this book in the background for a few months and although I really like John Niven’s work I hadn’t really fancied this... I’m not a golf fan.
What a mistake... this book was fantastic. It’s almost two stories in one about two brothers on different ends of the comfort scale and how one freak twist of fate shaped their lives.
The story twists and turns and ends up in a golfing climax that even I was enthralled by.
I genuinely had a lump in my throat at the end.
I can’t recommend this enough...... a definite ’hole in one’ book

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Laugh out loud.....

Cracking story from start to end.... Laugh at the golfers laughing at themselves... And the wannabe gangsters.....

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THE DOGS F@#$¥¥ BOLLOX.

the narrator does a great reading , adding humourous voices to a brilliantly funny book . Defo worth a listen

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  • TheAudiobookReview
  • 08-09-20

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.