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A coach who can write

John Dobson’s book, The Year of the Gherkin, will make you laugh out loud as you follow the trials and many tribulations of one Jason Brydon, a 30-year-old paint rep from Cape Town, whose bravest thing he has ever done was attend the 2010 Super Rugby Final in Soweto.

Jason is only interested in what brand jeans he is wearing, his Oakleys, the new Men’s Health and what ‘chick’ he can ‘score’.

He is a self-obsessed, materialistic, shallow, hedonistic monster and it scares you that as you page through the Year of the Gherkin that you cannot help liking him. (And he IS an unmitigated disaster.)

The book is light and easy to read as you follow Jason’s various messes and hangovers in pleasing diary format. It is one of the funniest books that I have ever read and I am sure that it will be a pop hit as you follow the ‘Jasonator’ and his motley crue of mates like Muggsy and Stevie, the perilous relationships with his boss and clients and his verkrampt, alcoholic father, unhappily retired to Port Alfred, ‘the next Knysna’.

However, under the humorous façade, author John Dobson – the founder of (back in 1999), but these days the Western Province Vodacom Cup head coach – has obviously tried to make a far more weighty point.

And that is that there is a grouping of white South Africans who are oblivious to the transition that the country has undergone and are unappreciative of it or anything in the broader issues of society, rather obsessing with where they are going to watch the rugby on Saturday and saving for the new Golf. It is an entertaining but razor-sharp commentary on some values (or lack thereof) prevalent in our society.

Some of it is painful as you see a disaster unfolding and the ending is excruciating – it leaves you absolutely agonising for a sequel which hopefully is part of the plan as this really is a great read.

Quite simply, this is the funniest book I have read in years. As the cliché says, it’s a must read, folks!

By Howard Kahn

* We will be giving away two copies of Dobson’s, The Year of the Gherkin, via this website.

Simply email us the answer to this easy question: What is the name of the main character in The Year of the Gherkin?

Send your answer to, with entries needing to provide the following details:
– Full name
– Full day-time delivery address, plus postal code.
– Contact number

Competition rules:
– Competition closes on Friday, March 23 at 12pm (SA time).
– One completed entry per person only.
– The winners will be contacted by or Penguin.
– The prizes cannot be exchanged for cash.
– The judges’ decision is final and NO correspondence will be entered into.


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