I missed the ‘release’ of this, mainly because I thought Hornby’s early promise had run out of steam. ( I loved Fever Pitch and liked Hi Fidelity.) He seemed to be becoming a bit ‘four weddings and a funeral’ for my liking and the snob in me saw him selling out.
His “about a boy’ book was kind of pish really.
But I picked this up in a charity shop and it sat in the pile for a while before I decided to read it.
It’s overrated, I have to say that to start with. It will win no literary prizes , but the critics seem to hold Hornby in some sort of thrall.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that actually if you ignore the startlingly unbelievable critical tosh it’s rather good on a simple storytelling level.
It has no great insights on life (or death) but it is a good read and Hornby creates four distinct characters; two of which work very well (the comedic ones ) Jess and Martin; one who nearly gets there but is underdeveloped (Maureen); and one that’s just a bit crap (JJ).
And yet, still, it works. I liked it on the whole. Quite a lot actually.
Maybe I liked it because it’s just a good story with an unpredictable ending, well told, and actually a very good mix of humour and pathos.
Oh, it’s about four people and their take on suicide, and how they collectively fight it, in case you didn’t know.