Book Review – A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby.

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby.

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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

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‘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.

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Book Review – Horns by Joe Hill.

Horns by Joe Hill.

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Ig Perrish wakes up having a really bad day. Not only is he incredibly hung-over but he also seems to be growing horns. That’s right, Ig can’t quite remember what he did to make the horns materialise, but he knows he did something bad whilst visiting the location his girlfriend was murdered, a murder Ig is the prime suspect for.

From the very first page Joe Hill pulled me in, his style of writing is so natural that it almost feels like you’re privy to a conversation amongst friends. What I particularly loved was the character of Ig, someone who is perceived by his entire hometown, and family, to be this perverse sex crazed killer who murdered his seemingly perfect girlfriend and got away with it because ‘daddy has money’ When really he’s this lost soul, who is innocent but has no way of proving that and lacks the energy to argue with people anymore.

What follows is a series of events that add elements of dark humour to the book, and make you realise how fortunate we are to have the ability to censor our inner most thoughts in day-to-day life. But as with anything, with great strange power comes great responsibility and it isn’t long before Iggy discovers who the real murderer is and sets out to get vengeance for the death of Merrin.

At certain moments involving Lee Tourneau and his mother, the book made my toes curl, but this was down to the believability of such a horrible character, and only further displayed Joe Hills talents as a writer.

The ending wasn’t what I was expecting, and if I’m being totally honest, I was a little upset with how the book ended. I wanted a nicer ending for Ig after all that he’d been through. To summarise, Horns is an excellent novel with plenty of humour and drama in equal measure. The only reason I didn’t get through it so quickly is because I was busy with work and the build up to Christmas, otherwise I would have had this finished in a matter of days.

Star Rating out of 5: 4.5

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‘Maybe all the schemes of the devil were nothing compared to what men could think up.’

Happy reading fellow bookworms.

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