Reviews for How Much for a Little Screw
Some of the comments left by readers
By Tyke on January 1, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
This semi-autobiographical, humorous work by Yorkshire writer Graham Higson looks back to the end of an era for that almost extinct species, the local hardware shop. Peopled with a variety of oddball but mainly gentle characters, Graham’s 1990s world has flavours of the famous ‘Fork ‘andles’ sketch throughout and catalogues the struggles of an essential component of the British high street in its attempts to compete with the likes of Been & Queued and to cope with the fall-out from the decline of trustworthy, customer-driven banking and a variety of sharp business practices.
I felt strongly that this book would translate very well into a stage play because Graham has more than a flair for dialogue and the subject matter is (as far as I know) unique; indeed in his bio he mentions that he’s done a course in playwriting, so to put in on stage would seem a natural progression.
Overall the book entertainingly makes a pungent comment about the spread of unwelcome business changes in our society, how determination, diversity and optimism are needed to survive, and how those strengths are needed just as much to cope with failure. Next time you find a hardware shop in the high street, rejoice – and use it or lose it, as this book persuasively tells us. Recommended.
By S. Bradford on 28 May 2015
Ever wondered what it’s like to run a small, independent hardware shop in a little town? Ever thought about what challenges that would throw up? Like when the main competitor is an absolute idiot and the council is intent on ruining what little trade there might be? The look no further than this book.
Anecdotes that are all amusing with a strong plot that takes you through the banks vying for your head and the changing demands of the high street. Characters who are real and interesting.
A great read and quite impossible to put down! I just wish there were more DIY shops like this still.
By Robert Fear on 25 January 2015
This fictionalised memoir is based on some true stories and revolves around the survival of a high street hardware store.
Initially sceptical I was soon drawn into the battles that the owners, staff and `The Accountant’ go through to ensure that the shop does not go under.
There are multiple layers to this book and it reflects so many aspects of our changing society, especially the greed and short-sightedness of banks and local councils.
Graham’s writing is superb and his characterisations of the people are intimate and amusing at the same time. One of my favourite chapters involved the owner and apprentice’s unusual trip to the seaside and the play on words around the gnomes they discovered.
An intriguing and fascinating book which you cannot fail to enjoy.
By To be Frank… on 12 January 2015
I hate DIY with a vengeance – the Black and Decker power drill my best man gave me at my wedding 20 years ago is still sitting unopened in my shed – but I had no problem reading and laughing my head off about it in this wonderfully warm and funny account of a local hardware shop going under somewhere ‘opp north’ in Little Sniffingham. It’s a very topical story – the last shop like Graham’s in my native Kingston upon Thames was also forced out by unsympathetic banks, parking charges and anonymous chain stores a year ago – and a sad one too, since I can’t buy a 100 watt light bulb anywhere now (Wickes and B & Q are not allowed to sell them) except…erm…at my local newsagen