Happy Monday all. Can you actually believe it's only just over a week until Christmas. Yikes!
So did you read along with us this month? We just read A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. Leave us a review either here or over at Heather's blog - Interior Groupie and let us know what your thoughts are. You can also join us at our facebook page.
The story begins on New Year's Eve on a rooftop in London. Four very different people at four very different stages of life meet on the rooftop when each of them intends on taking his/her life.
There is forty-something Martin, disgraced morning talk show host, ex con, who has gone to jail for sex with a minor; Maureen, middle-aged single mother, with a son who is severely disabled; Jess, eighteen, heartbroken, who wonders why her ex-boyfriend won't explain to her why they broke up; and JJ, American, wanna-be rock star, condemned to a life of delivering pizza.
The plans for suicide are thwarted when they realize they're not alone. Bonded by their shared misery the group ends up spending the night together, telling stories and forming a new sad kind of gang. There are plenty of quotable one-liners but the problem for me is that these people are supposed to be suicidal. I could see barely a glimmer of the mental pain I imagine is required to underpin the decision to kill yourself.
The four main characters take turns speaking throughout the book in the first person in a kind of round robin dialogue. They each tell the story of what brought them to this place in life. There are funny bits of dialogue and a lot of Nick Hornby's insightfulness in describing his characters. Nobody in this gang has any affection or even tolerance for the other members but they continue to meet and even embark on a trip to Canary Islands which I had a hard time with. Would they really spend that much time together when there was no real connection? The book continues to explore the emotional growth and development of the characters. Obviously we're not looking for spoilers here so I'll refrain from continuing.
Overall I'll say I didn't really care for the book. The story loses me under the weight of implausibilities. My biggest complaint about the book is the first-person storytelling method that has been employed. There is a desperate need for objectivity for me to be able to relate or enjoy the characters a bit more. These four are clearly not very insightful about their own lives unless it's about their bad moods.
So now it's your turn. What did you think?