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Show of Hands

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  256 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
When a desperate car dealer advertises a competition with a simple premise -- that each contestant must keep one hand on a car at all times, and the last one standing will drive away the owner of a new Land Rover -- he sets in motion a chain of events that brings together an oddball group of individuals, each with a desperate need to win.

For the contestants, this publici
ebook, 240 pages
Published February 17th 2009 by Atria Books (first published September 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookshelf, 2015
This was a nice surprise. The story involves a contest to win a Land Rover by being the last person with your hand still on the car...the contestant aren't allowed to sleep, must stand, and are given a 5 minute break every 2 hours. This story reminded me a lot of Stephen King's The Long Walk...the stories are similar and both show what happen to humans after long periods of no sleep. This story was a lot less sinister than The Long Walk but there are definitely similarities between the two. Over ...more
Franzie Lovegood
Die Moral von der Geschicht',
die fand ich nicht.
Obwohl vom Schreiben her schön,
konnt ich mich nicht dran gewöhn'.
Warum ich gerade reime,
man fragt es sich.
Drum antworte ich,
ich weiß es nicht.
Anthonys andere Werke,
die hatten alle viel mehr Stärke.

Also alles in allem
hat es mir leider nicht sehr gefallen.
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ganz schön langweilig...
Anna Schmelzer
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books!
Feb 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Leute, die Psychologie mögen
Recommended to July by: Tante
Als erstes - warum ich dem Buch nur 3 und nicht 4 Sterne gegeben habe: weil ich mich nicht entscheiden konnte :) Und ich fand 4 Sterne für das Buch zu gut, denn so gut war es nicht.

Die Geschichte ist seeeeeeeeeeeeeehr psychologisch.
Es geht im Grunde genommen darum, dass sich 2 Hauptpersonen (Jess und Tom), die beide ein völlig unterschiedliches Leben führen, zufällig bei einem Wettbewerb eines Autohändlers kennenlernen, bei dem noch viele andere Tausend Leute aus London mitmachen. 40 werden au
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This weird English novel is about a crooked car dealer who wishes to jump-start his failing car business by running a contest.The person who is the last one standing, who continues to put at least one hand on the car, wins a new car. However, the car isn't new, and the dealer has many issues. So do the people in the contest. It centers on the woman who wants the car to carry her wheel-chair bound daughter, the Mensa man who needs to pull himself out of debt due to his last business venture, the ...more
Larry H
Have you ever seen or read about one of those competitions where people have to keep one hand on a car as long as possible in order to win it? This book tells the story of a group of English folks participating in such a contest, dreamed up by a car dealer struggling to make ends meet (and dealing with challenges of his own). It focuses on a few characters in particular--Jess, a meter maid and single mother of a quadriplegic daughter, and Nick, a full-of-himself blowhard whose self-confidence is ...more
I would actually give this a 3.5 stars. I liked the story; it was unusual even if a little predictable. The characters were interesting. The story is centered around a contest to win a new car, where the winner is the person that has kept their hand on the car the longest. Naturally all the contestants have their different reasons for wanting to win a car. There is a little language, but it didn't seem too over the top for me. It was interesting to see the characters get to know each other throu ...more
A very interesting book about an unlikely topic; a contest to win a car by holding on to it for as long as one can hold out without sleep. A group of disadvantaged people with different reasons for needing to win a car, and an unscrupulous used car dealer whose business will go under without a new publicity gimmick. A really suspenseful psychological story about what can happen when altruism and self-interest conflict.
Amy Langford
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun novel about some London citizens who enter a competition to win a car by seeing who can keep one hand on a car the longest (with a break every hour). This is a character-driven story, and McCarten has a great sense for the range of human emotion and brings it forward with humor and a sense of understanding and even compassion. I read this book on our vacation in Europe and couldn't put it down at the end of long days, even though I was exhausted.
This book is similar in premise to the contest portrayed in the documentary "Hands on a Hard Body" (people compete to win a car by seeing who can stand with one hand on it the longest, without sleeping). It was a little hard to get into (largely because the first character encountered is so unpleasant) but then I stayed up way later than I should have last night to finish because I had to see who won. That's gotta count for something.
May 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable book that is quite different from most others I have read. This one takes place at an auto dealers in England where several people are all vieing for winning a free car. The trick - they have to keep their hand on it the longest. You get to meet some of the people and find out their stories and also see how they change as they go 5 days without sleep. A good little story.
Wendy Burks
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a dollar-store find, this book was a pleasant surprise. I breezed through it in 2 days, enjoying getting to know the varied characters and the author's insight into their motivations for enduring a grueling Guiness World Record attempt. There were fun moments scattered throughout to make this book a fun, fast read.
Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The style was not particularly challenging. A lot of fragments. Dialogue and little exposition. Snippets here and there of back ground but nothing burdening or challenging. An easy read, if one is looking for something light for vacation or travel.

For a more detailed review visit
Lindor Joelle
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for a story with an obscure plot, well this is it. I'm pretty bored with your typical romance and urban fiction novels. That being said, when I read the synopsis of this story I had to purchase it right away.
The story didn't disappoint. Each character will remind you of someone whom you have encountered in life.
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I truly loved this book. It's about a competition to win a new car but really it was about so much more. You get to know these contestants, learn their stories, and as the book progresses you see their personalities challenged, questioned & eventually evolve. I read this in 2 days or so because I just couldn't put it down. Good times. :)
Leah Lucci
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sadly realistic story of the grueling process of trying to win a car by keeping your hand on it. People are stretched to their limits and discover things about themselves they never would have predicted. It's fascinating.
Heather Dufield
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked it, the story flows along. The characters were interesting and all had different reasons for signing up for this contest. I think that the could easily turn this book into a romantic-comedy movie.
May 13, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some of the writing was overblown, but all in all it was an interesting book. It's told from multiple perspectives--this was particularly interesting because several of the characters were rather unlikeable, yet you cared about what happened.
Good solid novel. This was a nice distraction from all the memoirs I've been reading.

I definitely want to find more of McCarten's stuff.
Aug 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
3.5. I thought this book was a good book, but again nothing super special. It gave me the entertainment I expected with a moral to the story that I wasn't expecting. Overall I thought it was fun.
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mildly entertaining.
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I own this book, because I'll read it again. Author has good insight into human behavior and motivation. Some great paragraphs explaining such.
Lorena Drapeau
don't bother
Stephanie Martin
Aug 22, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Had to stop a quarter of the way through this book. It was mind numbing and so boring. Waste of time.
This book was ok - I got to the end, but I wouldn't recommend it. You can find a better story to spend some time with.
Apr 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bbc-a-book-club
Enjoyable, quick read. Interesting concept for a story.
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although the premise is interesting, it was too much of a drag. The author should have not wasted the idea by the slow progress of the story.
Mar 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub-sa
Easy fun read about the psychology of who participates in an endurance contest to win a car (keep your hand on the car longest) and the stories of those individuals.

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Anthony McCarten’s debut novel, Spinners, won international acclaim, and was followed by The English Harem and the award winning Death of a Superhero, and Show of Hands, all four books being translated into fourteen languages. McCarten has also written twelve stage plays, including the worldwide success Ladies’ Night, which won France’s Molière Prize, the Meilleure Pièce Comique, in 2001, and Via ...more
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“And that's when he saw, at last, why it was so sweet to be infinitesimal: because as we become nothing, beneath the stars, so too do our troubles.” 1 likes
“Life, especially in relation to other women, would always be a competition, one she would rarely win.” 1 likes
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