Newest Review: ... was laughing out loud at some parts. There are three main characters Martin, Jess, Maurine and JJ who are all completely different to eac... more
Can I have Fries with my Suicide Please?
A Long Way Down - Nick Hornby
Member Name: ryanando
A Long Way Down - Nick Hornby
Advantages: Very funny, great observations
Disadvantages: Might be a touchy subject
Nothing like a good old taboo to get the juices flowing.
Mr Hornby (first name Nick) is one of the more observant writers I know of. Yeah ok, so I'm not the most well read person in the world so there are probably others who make him seem like he goes around with blinkers on, but he always manages to hit the nail on the head with the people he creates.
Another talent of his is not really having a point to his stories and all at the same time having an incredibly captivating, involving read.
It would be very hard to describe the story without giving too much away (mainly because I HATE spoilers), so I refuse to go into detail (down goes the helpfulness of this review!)
So this is all you are getting. Four rather suicidal strangers meet and try their best to work out how best to get on with life.
Hey, I said it would be brief!
"A long way down" is written from the perspective of four very different people. Hornby has brilliantly captured the personalities of these four people just by letting them tell their story in their own words. These people are talking directly to you whether you like it or not.
Firstly we have Martin, who is well educated, a tad famous and a bit of an arsehole (his words, not mine). His narration is possibly the easiest to stomach as it tends to be written more as a writer would narrate a story. Real words, proper punctuation, intellectual comments.
Maureen is next to arrive on the scene. She is a lot quieter, far too easily impressed by anything and tends to be a little bit of a prude. She's also rather god-fearing to boot. I found her narrative the most comical of the four possibly because she is so naive. Not to mention she will actively censor any bad language in the conversations she narrates to us.
Hot on Maureen's' heels is Jess. Possibly the embodiment of everything I dislike in a person, her narrative was irritating as hell, difficult to stick with without wanting to scream...or punctuate...or jump into the book and slap her about. I am, however, aware that this is the image Hornby was going for with Jess. It nearly made me stop reading (and on many occasions made me put the book down) but I eventually got over it (much like those in the book started to just ignore most of what she said.) Despite this, the girl actually became quite a likeable person...in the sense that you only wanted to strangle her a little bit.
Last but by no means least is JJ. The American. His narrative is some where between Martin and Jess in that it is at times quite profound and the guy can use full stops, but he has his moments where he skips off to the land of "Oh-dear-I'm-Going-to-use-LIKE-as-every-secon d-word" with Jess.
Personally, I found the whole story quite uplifting. Maybe because I'm not half as screwed up as any of the characters, maybe because a lot of what is said makes a lot of sense. So suicide isn't the HAPPIEST subject to read about. There are however some great comedy moments laced throughout the book rather subtly.
Price wise, as usual you aren't going to break the bank with one of Hornby's books, the RRP on this is £7.99 (paperback)
As for those who will judge by the cover (such as myself) it continues the theme of previous books by Hornby therefore creating a nice little bundle of unity on your bookshelf (assuming you go buy any other titles, which you really should you know)
The only thing I didn't really like about this book is that Facebook kept messaging me to tell me I'd been reading it for more than two weeks. I'm not a fast reader!! IS IT A CRIME!? No!!! Get off my back!
Overall a fantastic, very different read that I would recommend to anyone. Just try not to let Jess put you off.
*review also on Ciao*
Summary: Dark humour surrounding suicide