LauraPaura's Reviews > The Understudy

The Understudy by David Nicholls
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Feb 04, 12

bookshelves: 2012, reviewed
Read from January 23 to 29, 2012

The Understudy is the story of actor, Stephen C McQueen (no relation), whose career highlight so far is playing Sammy the Squirrel in an educational show aimed at preschoolers. We meet Steve as he is understudying for Josh Harper, the hottest new British actor in Hollywood, currently holding the title of The 12th Sexiest Man in the World. Unfortunately for Steve, not only is Josh playing "his" role, he is also married to Nora, the woman Steve has fallen in love with.

This is the second time I've read a book by David Nicholls, the first being the fantastic One Day, and The Understudy doesn't disappoint. It's a well written, satirical look at the world of show business, which I found increasingly difficult to put down (probably due to the short chapters)and which actually made me laugh out loud on a few occasions.

Favourite line "He was woken the next morning by the smell of his own armpits" Bad times!

Stephen doesn't always do or say the right thing and sometimes you just want to slap him around the face and tell him to get a grip but ultimately throughout the book you're always rooting for him. I particularly enjoyed his internal dialogue where he looks to his favourite films to give him ideas on how to deal with situations. If only he would just relax and be himself life might not be quite so difficult.

The last few chapters are a tad unbelievable and deviate a little too much from what I feel would actually happen to a guy like Steve. All the way through, the story feels so very British and these last chapters give it too much of a schmulzy, rom-com, hollywood ending.

None the less, I am very happy to recommend this book and will be looking out for more David Nicholls stories.
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