Review – On The Edge by Richard Hammond
‘On the Edge’ is Richard Hammond’s compelling account of life before and after his near-fatal accident and an honest description of his year of recovery, full of drama and incident.
I’ve always had a fondness for Richard Hammond. I adore Top Gear, and some of the other shows he’s been involved with have been really good too. I borrowed this book from a friend because it sounded interested, and jeez, what an understatement. I started reading this midmorning and had finished it the afternoon, all in one sitting. I’ve never been so compelled by an autobiography before, so emotionally moved.
On September 20th 2006, Richard Hammond suffered brain damage after crashing in a jet-powered car that was traveling at 288 miles per hour. Richard writes with the assistance of his wife, Mindy, as many of the details of his accident and the weeks after are not in Richard’s memory. There are a few pages when he talks about his brilliant idea of going stupidly fast to the Top Gear production team, and I sat there and wished that what I knew was inevitable wouldn’t happen. I prayed that he’d never get to the jet car, that he’d go home with his dog to his wife and children, unharmed. But, no.
I read the pages up to the crash with baited breath. When his wife took over, I realized that I was in for an emotional rollercoaster. The journey that Richard, Mindy and his family went on was truly remarkable to read about. I had a little cry at the end because the whole story is so heart breaking. Nonetheless, there’s always hope from Mindy’s end; she’s an incredibly strong woman who clearly loves her husband an immeasurable amount. Fortunately, Richard has largely recovered which I know cannot be said for everyone who suffers a brain injury, and this notion touched upon quite strongly in this book. I knew very little about how injuries can affect the brain before reading, and I definitely feel more educated now. It’s scary to think of all the ways that something so precious and small can cause so much destruction and pain to a lot of people. I am in complete awe of Richard Hammond and I absolutely cannot recommend this book enough.