Some people, it seems, just have a knack to tell a good yarn. These people also seem to live life at full volume and the events and experiences are so perfect that they seem to be preordained. Such is the life of kiwi peanut butter maverick, Pic Picot.
There is such a Kiwi bloke-ness to this story. A mucking in, hands on, can-do spirit that just permeates throughout the biographical account of Picot’s life. Even down to the self-publication of the book itself. It’s a bit like Barry Crump preferred the peanut butter industry or Fred Dagg became a bit more erudite.
Sailors will appreciate the depths he goes to in describing his nautical adventures in and around the South Pacific including some wonderful stories of catching tuna and almost approaching the island prison where inmates are left to swim to shore lest the boat be attacked by the island's inhabitants. Each episode in the entire memoir is funny and captures so much detail.
However, it does drift a little at times struggling to find coherence across the years covered. Pic draws on an incredible amount of knowledge where he labours the minor details for some things, and skips over seemingly important parts with others. Ultimately this adds to the charm of a sailor who has so many stories to tell. And his sense of humour carries throughout with a spirit and an energy that radiates off the page. There’s even an interestingly placed extended poem which describes his trip back to Aotearoa New Zealand.
The investment in pages dedicated to his travels on board one boat or another come to fruition when one looks to the lessons learned through the process. Ambition, resilience and tenacity have all been honed through his love for sailing and carry him through his life as a businessman - both good and bad endeavours.
It is the section in the final quarter of the book, dedicated to his journey with the current business, Pic’s Peanut Butter, that really brings out the best of his writing, and storytelling craft. Starting the business as a labour of love in his retirement, Pic’s has grown to be a household brand and loved the country over. This section is one for anyone thinking to start their own business to get the encouragement to get in there, get their hands dirty and give it a nudge. Pic’s growth has certainly had its challenges along the way and he explains how he overcame them (as only Pic can in some instances) with a grateful heart and a connecting spirit.
As a reader you feel drawn to Pic. Drawn to his way of life, and his outlook. He loves this country and he has a heart for the people who make it up. He is truly one of our proper kiwi blokes. His peanut butter is certainly a national taonga.
Reviewer: Chris Reed