Having just missed one hundred books in the first year of The Book Challenge, in 2010, I made the full tonne. Still reading, but without the challenge, take a look at the reviews for the books that I have read this year.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Book 6 - Juliet, Naked

Book - Juliet, Naked
Author - Nick Hornby
Year - 2009
Genre - Fiction
Pages - 249
Swapped with pidge on Read It Swap It

Any man should be able to name his three favourite films immediately.  It is in the rules of man-ness.  As someone who watches very few films (due, in part, to spending so much time reading), this is very very easy to me.  The Matrix occupies top spot because it is seven levels of awesome.  Then it is The Last of The Mohicans which is equally manly and cool.  However, massively taking down my cool factor at the end is my third place film, which is *ahem*... About A Boy.  No, Hugh Grant is not manly and cool.

But the film is.  The soundtrack is great, and the acting awesome, and the plot is wonderful.  I can (and have) watch it over and over.  And from here, in what is the opposite way round to how I usually manage it, I started reading the books of the creator of About A Boy - Nick Hornby.

Having written the excellent High Fidelity, Don't Look Down and About A Boy, for the past few years, Hornby has mainly been a writer who spends most of his time commenting on the front cover of other people's books.  He did however release this book a couple of years back.  It follows Annie, who is approaching her forties and is in a relationship with Duncan - a fortysomething music geek - which is going literally nowhere.  Duncan has an unhealthy obsession with eighties singer songwriter, Tucker Crowe, who in a strange twist of fate, ends up getting in touch with Annie and sharing his troubled life with her.

If it all sounds a little contrived when I write it here, then you should try reading 249 pages of it.  Hornby is an excellent writer, and I found the whole thing page turning enough, but the story is quite frankly ridiculous, requiring an incredible leap of faith for nearly all of the plot points.  And just when you start thinking that you are running out of pages for another incredible coincidence to come along and sort out all of the problems, it turns out to not be a worry - the book just ends.

I love Nick Hornby's writing, which is probably why I was so disappointed with Juliet, Naked.  The concept is clever, but it just doesn't seem to work at all - a little like one of his previous books, How To Be Good.  This means that I am possibly being a little harsh - it isn't a wretched book by any means - but when there is an author that you truly like, you really want them to write books that you really enjoy.  Hornby has only one novel that I haven't read now, so I shall see if I can get hold of that to restore my faith in one of my favourite authors.

Read what Bob had to say about the book here.


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