“I’m glad I learned to stay home and sulk.”
First things first – I saw the movie High Fidelity with John Cusack and Jack Black before I read this book. I did not realise the actual book was set in the UK, rather than the US. I’m glad I watched the movie first, because if it was the other way around I would have been horribly disappointed in the film. (Although the scene in the book where Barry bursts into the shop and starts blasting ‘Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina and the Waves could not have been done well by anyone but Jack Black – the enthusiasm and crazy faces pulled during what is meant to be a ‘Monday morning mix tape’ are just perfect).
Nick Hornby writes the perfectly grumpy, paranoid and lazy Englishman, so much so it’s like he’s written my partner into the story. Not that I’m calling my partner grumpy, or paranoid, or lazy. It’s just that Hornby has to perfectly captured what it is to be English, and English in the 90’s.
It’s like the main character Rob Fleming owns up to all the lazy and grumpy thoughts that we know we all have, but never want to admit to. The phrase he uses – “I’m glad I learned to stay home and sulk.” just perfectly captures how we all must feel sometimes, when faced with life and the prospect of having to do what we’re doing for the next 50 years. He admits to being stuck, and being lazy and seriously grumpy and even a little bit whiny. But that’s the great thing about Rob, he absolutely captures the hopeless moods everyone feels sometimes, and says the things to do with relationships that we wouldn’t normally dream of saying out loud – how he wishes that he had the freedom of the single life, whilst also being in a relationship. He verbalises the hedonistic needs we all probably feel sometimes, and that’s just great.
I think I’m going to give this book 4 stars, simply due to how fucking brilliant a character Rob Fleming is.
Next up is Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates. It’s going to be a quick read at 138 pages, but this is the first book I’ll be reading by her, so I thought I’d start with a novella, so I may be able to get through 2 books this week, giving me some days to spare if I want to tackle a longer book next time.
Once again, happy reading and good luck for the 52 book challenge, or whatever your reading goals for the year may be!