Post-One Day, I wanted to have at some more of David Nicholls' work. Starter for 10 is his first novel, and well....I finished it underwhelmed.
A few reasons why this one tripped me up when One Day (for me anyway) was so lovely:
1) The protagonist, Brian Jackson: A college freshman, Brian has fancy notions of what it means to head off to university. But he's nerdy and his face is pock-marked with acne and he's awkward. So, SO awkward. Every scene becomes slightly painful to read because it's Brian tripping over his words to be funny. Brian trying to sound smarter than he is. Brian thinking a girl—like the gorgeous Alice Harbinson—is in to him when, well, really she's not.
2) The storyline: I'm far enough removed from the college scene now that reading about the days of "getting pissed" every night and being hung over every morning make me feel old. The book's plot builds up to Brian and his team's participation in the University Challenge (think Jeopardy for the college set) and while these bits of the book are pretty solid ... it's the everyday life of the 19-year-old that gets old. Oh, and a bit of a pet peeve — Nicholls begins and ends his story here using the same lines (bit of a literary cop-out, eh?)
3) The British divide: We all speak English. How bad could it be? Turns out, there are enough differences in our countries' vernaculars that I found myself tripping over certain words or puzzling over phrases because of it. Made it more of a challenge to really get in to this one.
Compelled to watch the film version of this after reading (because, after all, it has James McAvoy and Rebecca Hall) but even that didn't sell me. Just an OK read (and film) for me....