Saturday, 11 January 2014
175/111 - A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
I bought this on a whim with a gift card from Christmas as I heard they were making a film out of this this year. I've also read a couple of Nick Hornby's book in the past and enjoyed them. I've read High Fidelity and also seen the film, and I guess I enjoyed them both but I have mixed feelings about it because I really think Rob is a scumbag. I also found that I had complicated feelings about the characters in A Long Way Down in that I didn't really like any of them, but unfortunately I also wasn't really rooting for any of them. Of the four main characters, I guess I liked Martin the best as I found him quite funny.
The story starts out on New Year's Eve with Martin heading to the roof of a tower block intending to throw himself off the top. He has pretty much ruined his own life; a disgraced ex-television show host who has recently spent time in prison for sleeping with an underage girl. Quite the mess. As he is preparing to throw himself off, the story shifts to Maureen's perspective, as she too is making plans to end her own life due to the struggles of caring for her severely disabled son. This story keeps shifting perspective from one character to another, and soon two more characters (Jess and JJ) join them on the rooftop, also having planned to kill themselves. The four strangers end up coming to an agreement hat they won't kill themselves until valentines day a few weeks away and that they will meet up regularly in the meantime to see if they still feel like it. They end up going on all sorts of hijinks, including going on holiday, pretending that they've had a religious experience and going on a talk show.
This book was okay, I didn't love it, and I think it was the fact that nine of the voices really spoke to me. I would have liked to have one person to really get behind, but I didn't really care too much about any of them unfortunately.