Review: Boots ‘n All by Tony Walsh

Boots ‘n All – Continuing Tales in the NZ Back Country

Reviewed by Margaret Craigie

Boots ‘n All is a collection of anecdotes largely from Walsh’s hunting days. It follows his first book, The Black Singlet. Its major appeal over most books, and a fact I very much enjoyed myself, is that you can read the chapters of the book in any order as each chapter is a short story in itself. It is not a requirement to have read The Black Singlet first.

Boots particularly appeals to me as I am a tramper, but I think anyone who enjoyed the “Good on ya’ mate” advertisements from TV would like it. The rough and rugged outdoorsy type who makes a wonderfully romantic gesture, (but possibly biggest faux pas of his life), by courting his wife-to-be by inviting her on a hunting trip. My favourite line in the whole book relates to this story, “Noreen never did love hunting like she loved me.”

There are brief mentions of things that trigger the odd memory, such as Swandris, and with photographic proof! There are also descriptions of times gone by; of drovers with herds of sheep along the highway, many hundred strong, occasionally over 1,000, and also of watching kaka flying about in the wild. These days, I do four-day tramps and consider myself extremely lucky to see a dozen birds, native or not.

My own personal preference for improvement of the book has nothing to do with the style of writing, but the choice of font and size, perhaps Arial size 12 rather than Times New Roman, 10. (Although I fully acknowledge “each to her own”.) Boots ‘n All is an easy read, playful and full of humour.


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