I have been a fan of Nick Hornby since I read “High Fidelity.” I came at it after having seen the film, and they can both really standalone as solid entertainment. I later read “About a Boy” and enjoyed that as well, so this is my third Hornby, and I liked it just as much as the first two.
The subject matter could be a bit of a downer, especially for this time of year, but it really just depends on your perspective. I have just moved to the Midwest and am trying to get along with winter, so I am trying to pick books that will either raise my spirits, or show me that things could be worse. This novel is the latter.
It is New Year’s Eve and four people have gone to the top of Toppers House in London to commit suicide. They didn’t expect all the traffic though, so now they are stuck. Do they jump, or do they begin an unlikely friendship? The cast of characters includes a mother with a disabled wheelchair-bound son, a semi-celebrity embroiled in scandal, a failed American musician, and an angry teenager. Though they presumably have nothing in common, save for their quest to cash in their chips, they decide to spend the evening trying to find the teenager’s ex-boyfriend. Hijinks, and tender moments, ensue.
Like all Hornby books, the characters are flawed, but real, and there are few neatly wrapped up conclusions. This novel will make you laugh, shake your head, smile, and possibly even think. It has some interesting insight into suicide and mental health, and the cost about deluding yourself about the realty of your situation, and problems.
Also, I was surprised to discover there was a film version in 2014 because I don’t think it would adapt well to film…though I was not surprised to see it had AWFUL reviews, so stay away from that and watch the much more favorably adapted “About a Boy” or “High Fidelity.”