A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby.
I’ve never read a Nick Hornby book before, but I have seen some film adaptations of his other books and always found them to have a certain charm. In this case I’m glad I have read the book before seeing the film.
A Long Way Down had me gripped, now I know I’ve said this about plenty of other books, but seriously I started reading this around 9.30pm yesterday evening and despite sleeping, eating and doing other things around the house I have finished this today at 4.30pm. It follows four very different characters, Martin a disgraced ex TV Presenter who served time in prison after sleeping with an underage girl, Maureen who’s daily routine involves sitting in her home with her severely disabled son, Jess an 18 year old girl who is filled with anger and J.J. an American who delivers pizza’s after the break up of his band and breakdown of his relationship.
On New Years Eve the foursome cross paths when they meet on Topper’s House, a well known site for suicide, but due to conversations, stolen pizza and interventions none of them end up jumping, instead they decide that they will give it 6 weeks and see how they feel. The novel flits between each character and Nick Hornby has done an incredible job of really bringing each of the characters unique personalities and dialogue to life. This ragtag bunch of people soon become friends and end up interrupting each others lives, with sometimes hilarious results.
But overall the tone of the book is quite serious, and at times heart breaking. It really studies our perceptions of life and what makes us feel like we’ve hit rock bottom? What makes life worth living? These types of questions are asked plenty of times throughout the book and it will really make you think about life. The ending was a little flat for me and I felt the last 20 pages or so felt like the author was being a little repetitive, and the writing didn’t grip me as much as it had in the first part of the book. Saying that it is a great book, with well-formed characters and which will provide you with plenty of food for thought.
Star Rating out of 5: 4.5
‘Sure, I could be pretty anti-social when we were on the road, but if I was playing a Gameboy hour after hour, no one would be on my case. In my social circle, blowing up fucking space monsters is socially acceptable in a way that American Pastoral isn’t.’
Until next time fellow bookworms.