Book Review: Chuck Sambuchino’s ‘Gnomes’ Equips Readers with the Essentials

Chuck Sambuchino* is the master of guides. Since 2008, he’s given us Guide to Literary Agents (Writer’s Digest Books); now, he’s unleashed a new kind of guide—one that, he says, will save your life. In his aptly-named and recently-released How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (and They Will) (Ten Speed Press), he lays it out in the very first line:  Keep reading if you want to live.

What, you don’t think you’re at risk? Sambuchino disagrees—and whom are you going to believe, yourself or a Class 1 gnome slayer?

Yeah—that’s what I thought.

In Sambuchino’s easy-to-read handbook, he provides tips you never realized you needed to know in order to defend yourself in the event of an ambush of the lawn ornament variety.


What's he got behind his back? (Probably an axe.)


He has used his extensive garden gnome defense training to develop a foolproof four-step system (Assess, Protect, Defend, Apply), which will have you well on your way to total safety in just 106 pages.

Sambuchino not only equips readers with the proper tools to gnome-proof their homes and yards, but he also shines the light on the fact that these garden gnomes have infiltrated our world, down to well-known (and seemingly innocent) idioms (“gnomenclature”). The worst part is they’ve done so virtually undetected.

That’s what makes the little buggers so dangerous, he says. But fear not—it’s Sambuchino to the rescue.


The photographer's body was found three yards away. The horror! The horror!


I had no idea how much of a threat these pint-sized pests could be, but my eyes have been blasted open. I can now sleep much easier at night, after having acquired this knowledge, thanks to Sambuchino.

In the words of G.I. Joe, “knowing is half the battle.” The other half? Strategically placing weapons throughout the house and kicking some gnome ass.

From fashioning weapons out of household items to memorizing escape routes, you won’t find a more complete survival guide out there than Gnomes.

*For the most clever gnome pun left in the comments (winner chosen by moi), Sambuchino has generously offered to give a free critique of up to 5 pages of a manuscript or a query letter—so get commenting!  CONTEST ENDS OCTOBER 15 AT 11:59 PM EST.

Buy it here!

For more information on this book—and some life-saving tips, visit the official Gnomes blog.

To follow Sambuchino’s “ultra-nemesis,” Gnomevicious, click here. (Might be a good way to get an inside look at how these forces of evil think . . . )

16 thoughts on “Book Review: Chuck Sambuchino’s ‘Gnomes’ Equips Readers with the Essentials

  1. For the authorities who should be protecting us from these threats, the lights are on but gnomebody’s home. Thank goodness we have Chuck Sambuchino, protecting us from nomes both home and roaming. Next time I’m in my garden, I won’t have to ax any questions about where the dangers lie.

  2. Haha. I love garden gnomes. Unfortunately I don’t have a garden to put them in, but I’ve given my mother several for her garden ^.^

    Because I used to play World of Warcraft Online, I jumped straight to this post when I got the email. Don’t let their size fool you! They’re tricky buggers.

  3. Well, more of a poem than a pun (though not quite a poem either):

    if you’re out a’gnoming
    in the deep grey gloaming
    armed with pick and lantern
    and five shots from the tavern

    it sets your heart a’beating
    to see a gnome so fleeting
    your weapon weakly flailing
    at that munchkin thumbing his nose in hailing

    ’tis better to make peace in the garden
    than tussle with gnomes so ardent
    a gnome as friend good luck portends
    and as floor-cleaners they’re godsends

    By the way, don’t you think Chuck has a bit of a gnomish grin?

  4. The book sounds great, but, honestly, are gnomes really that big a problem?

    (Get it? ‘Cause gnomes are really small, right? So, not a “big” problem. *tap tap tap* Is this thing on? *sigh* Tough crowd…)

  5. This is very super cereal everybody…if we let them gnomes walk all over us with their webbed feet and corncob pipes, next we’ll have to compinsate for Lucky and his stupid Charms…(that’s funny, Lucky doesn’t look gnomeish.)

  6. Gnomes have given us so much in relation to language.

    Many famous people have borrowed from their ancient text for years.

    For example:

    ‘The truth be Gnome’. To the truth be known.
    We all know that Gnomes’ are known for their great distortion of truth.
    ‘There’s no place like Gnome’. There’s no place like home.
    Here again private homes, cities towns and countries are always designated Gnome and not by individual names.

    I could go on. However, this one sticks out in my mind as a turning point in transportation … all credit perhaps should go to-yes you guessed it Gnome.

    Gnome,Gnome,Gnome your boat.

    This came from the ancient order of Gnomes placing a magical spell on their water craft.

    When the Vikings translated this Gnome text it revolutionized their boating prowess.

    They saw how they could add more dedicated oarsmen to the boat, thus increase their speed and navigational accuracy.

    Gnomes have indeed given us much.

    I even have the great bleached Gnome living in my now weed infested front yard.

    A picture may follow when appropriate.
    Good Gnome to all of you.

    Dave Powell

  7. I have not read the book yet, though it is on my must read list. Looks fun! And terrifying. Here’s my question – Does Chuck recommend using a gnome de plume when writing about this subject? For safety purposes, of course.


    Stanza One

    Oh, there’s no place for gnomes these holidays,
    ‘Cause gnome matter how far away they roam;
    Sambuchino will gnomewreck their red cone toupees,
    And make gnomework of these gnomeskulls, hear gnomes groan!

    Gnome Rap Refrain

    If you read Nostra-gnome-us, you’d pick up the clue phone-us.
    Those pics you’d best forget? Gnomes upload to the Net!

    Gnomes tangle up our hoses, right beneath our noses.
    On garden paths they mosey, and trample down our posies.

    They terrorize the bunnies, then shred the Sunday funnies.
    Gnomes gobble up our spinach; they hide tools before we finich!

    On playground swings they loiter; one ain’t gon’ date MY daughter.
    They wet upon the lilies; their grins give me the WILLIES.

    Gnomes cower brute Alsatians, even once you’ve Maced their faces in!
    These creepy little vermins, we blame upon the Germans!

    Stanza Two

    No rooms again for gnomes at inns these holidays,
    No discount rates, just blackout dates for sl-gnome-bers.
    Egnomeration and gnome-schooling, now passee,
    Let’s end gnomish praises,
    Make us unenc-gnome-bered,
    Shatter gnomish glazes,
    These ghouls’ days are gnomebered!

    (Stanzas sung to tune of first and last verses of “Home for the Holidays.”)

  9. If I’d gnome the competition would be this stiff, I might not have bothered.

    Gnomes aren’t always small you know. Some are vastly rotund, bordering on the continental. For example, ‘Gnome Anne’s an island!’

    Not a pun, but did you hear about the gnome who got kicked out of the nudist colony? He was poking his nose into everyone’s business…

    Regardless, I know which way I’m headed; ignomeinious defeat…


  10. In fact it occurred to me to point out just how terrified of gnome-kind even our bravest human soldiers are – particularly so where the afore-mentioned large gnomic lady is concerned. Out of equal parts fear and respect, they always refer to the most terrible part of the battlefield as ‘Gnome Anne’s Land’.

    There. Did that one make the cut?

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