Nick Hornby is one of those authors whose work I see everywhere but never get around to reading. But rather than letting him languish in a TBR pile somewhere, as I end up doing to most such authors, I decided to actually possibly read one of his books. I recruited my Mary friend to tell me all about his books and which one(s) I should read (verdict: all of them) and ended up starting at the beginning with this, his first novel.
And I didn’t really know what to expect… I knew only that Hornby had sort of a thing for music, and that Mary really liked him. But when I opened the book to find a list staring at me? I love lists. Lists and I are very good friends. Rob and I could probably not be friends because of our differing tastes in music, but if we could be, I would like to be friends with Rob. And his lists.
Of course, there’s more to the story — that first list is about Rob’s top five most memorable split-ups, and he’s writing it as part of a letter of sorts to the woman who’s just broken up with him after several(?) years of dating. And he’s generally mopey about the split, and trying to figure out how to move on, and the reader soon finds out that Rob’s not exactly a completely innocent party in this whole thing, and also he’s stuck in a career rut after the fallout from one of those top five relationships, and it’s sort of a mid-life coming of age novel.
I liked it for the most part; the ending gets a little sappy and less than realistic but mostly manages to save itself from becoming, what, syrup? And I definitely cringed a bit when [spoiler alert, if you can have one 15 years after the fact?] Rob and Laura decide to stay together out of what seems to be sheer laziness, but it’s definitely an in-character decision so I suppose I must respect it, even if I don’t like it.
Recommendation: I would recommend this to pretty much anyone; I don’t think it really occupies any sort of reading niche. I imagine you might enjoy it or understand it better if you knew anything about the music and movies and whatnot that Rob likes, but it’s clearly not required.
(Support Your Local Library Challenge)
books i done read
Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.