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Funny Girl

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  27,792 ratings  ·  3,280 reviews
Set in 1960's London, Funny Girl is a lively account of the adventures of the intrepid young Sophie Straw as she navigates her transformation from provincial ingénue to television starlet amid a constellation of delightful characters.

Insightful and humorous, Nick Hornby's Funny Girl does what he does best: endears us to a cast of characters who are funny if flawed, and fo
Hardcover, 452 pages
Published February 3rd 2015 by Riverhead Books (first published November 6th 2014)
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Amy Hi. I think that Hornby was very aware of that cliché and that's why he chose it. It was done on purpose because the whole idea about what goes on bet…moreHi. I think that Hornby was very aware of that cliché and that's why he chose it. It was done on purpose because the whole idea about what goes on between the actors and writing team is cliché. The script they first work on is unoriginal and they are working through those ideas in a very bazaar way that's actually very funny. Therefore taking the cliché and using it as a comical tool. Well, That's my point of view. This story however seems quite different to Streisand's funny girl. In fact the opposite. Barbara is a beauty queen wanting to be a comedian whereas Fanny Brice was not good looking at all but wanted to be a serious actress.(less)
Tiffany Reynolds I loved it...and I'm jealous that you went to a Nick Hornby reading and book-signing! How to Be Good was probably the most depressing of his novels, b…moreI loved it...and I'm jealous that you went to a Nick Hornby reading and book-signing! How to Be Good was probably the most depressing of his novels, but not one has been a disappointment.(less)

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Average rating 3.39  · 
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Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Never before has the time-worn critic's trope "Show, don't tell" been more utterly ignored than by Nick Hornby and his ambitious, yet thoroughly lackluster (and curiously unfunny) novel about British televised comedy in the 1960's-'70s, Funny Girl.

I admire Hornby's vision here; his drive to present something fresh and new. His recounting the meteoric rise of fame and fortune of "I Love Lucy" worshipping, aspiring starlet from Blackpool, Barbara Parker, as she escapes her mundane life at home to
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Being funny is a serious business, and in his latest novel Nick Hornby gets to demonstrate that making people laugh is just as valid and fulfilling a life choice as curing diseases or educating the masses or studying history, philosophy, economics. I’m mentioning these fields because the novel is about the BBC as a national institution that spends money from taxes on creating educative programs, and some people grumble about expenses on trivial, even offensively vulgar pursuits. The key passage ...more
Ron Charles
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Speaking at a college campus a few years ago, I joked about feeling like Lucy in the chocolate factory, and an undergraduate asked me when Lucy Hale worked in a chocolate factory. It was one of those moments when you suddenly picture yourself stooped and holding an ear trumpet.

As a child, I watched the black-and-white reruns of “I Love Lucy” till I knew every frame. Vitameatavegamin, the grape-stomping brawl, the expanding bread loaf — are any family memories more vivid than those immortal scene
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I'm such a big fan of Nick Hornby and this book is such a disappointment. I'd almost prefer not to provide a review. I have looked forward to this book for months now and received it from Penguin's First to Read. Perhaps the problem is with the narrator providing such distance from the characters that ultimately none of them are either believable or likable. Hornby has done so well in earlier works with believable characters that become likable in spite of their faults. In this book, it was all ...more
Adrian White
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How he does it, I don’t know, but Nick Hornby creates interesting characters and turns them into human beings we actually care about. In Funny Girl, he does it while successfully evoking a whole era – early sixties London on the cusp of change, from a dour post-war Britain to a world where anything is possible for those with youth and talent on their side. It’s no coincidence that The Beatles were on my iPod throughout this past week.

In Nick Hornby novels, it’s always the humanity that shines th
Nadine Larter
You know how there's that cliche question of "If you could have dinner with anyone at all, dead or alive, who would you choose?" and then your answer is supposed to establish a whole bunch of things about who you are or your compatibility with someone or something? Well, my fantasy dinner guest has been Nick Hornby for as long as I can remember. Of course, if we're allowed to choose fictional people for this question then I might have to choose The Doctor, but it might be best not to go there... ...more
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“What was he doing with her? How on earth could he love her? But he did. Or, at least, she made him feel sick, sad and distracted. Perhaps there was another way of describing that unique and useless combination of feelings, but ‘love’ would have to do for now”

Funny Girl is the sixth full-length novel by British author, Nick Hornby. Set, for the most part, in the mid-to-late 1960s, Hornby’s latest novel gives the reader an intimate look at the making of a TV comedy series. His TV show, cast and c
May 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Meant to be an easy, breezy, affectionate nod to the 60's - but I found it bland. Like creme brulee without the sugar topping - just no snap to it. I couldn't wait to be finished. Sorry, Nick Hornby fans - think this one is a bit of a miss. ...more
Apr 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
2015 F.A.B. Bookclub pick # I.❤️. F.A.B.
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love Nick Hornby he is a brilliant quick witted man . I got this book when I attended a meet and greet here where I live. I had not previously read any of his work but I loved the movie An Education that he wrote the screen play for, so I thought it would be fun to attend. As soon as he started talking and telling stories and engaging with us , I knew I was going to love this book and I did. I think the whole point of the Funny Girl was that life isn't always funny and I wished more had been w ...more
Donna McCaul Thibodeau
Jun 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book was one that I wished I had stopped reading a quarter of the way through but I kept hoping it would get better. It didn't. The author's characters were so underdeveloped that I truly didn't care what happened to them. This was basically a story about...nothing. I found it very boring. ...more
Feb 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Funny Title
Maybe the rest of the world is just slow to keep up with Nick Hornby, but if we're not all mistaken, there is already a story out there about a perky young girl crashing the gates of showbiz; and it is also called Funny Girl. Maybe that (stage musical, movie, original cast album, videotape, dvd, karaoke selections etc) didn't quite make it to the UK ? Just wondering.

Let's be honest-- this is an effervescent novel, a patchouli-scented paisley-printed mini-skirted ... er, 'rom
Robin (Bridge Four)
High Fidelity is one of my favorite movies ever so when I saw that Funny Girl was written by the same person I decided to give it a try. This ended up being a meh story for me. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. It just seems that the characters that I had the most interest in weren’t the main character Sophie (formerly Barbara) or else I might have liked it a little more.

I don’t have a lot of experience with the sixties but it seems like an unusual time where people didn’t discuss se
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Barbara has always had one dream, to be the next Lucille Ball. Moving from Blackpool to London as soon as she possibly can and changing her name to Sophie Straw, she hits the ground running. As luck would have it, an early audition has her in front of one of her favourite radio writing teams who happen to find her charming and her ideas an inspiration. So begins the journey of what will turn into one of Britain's most popular sitcoms and the careers of those behind the scenes.

What a disappointme
Paul E. Morph
Hands down the best book I've read so far this year. Superbly crafted, palpably alive with an engaging plot and characters I fell in love with, this is both hilariously sad and heartbreakingly funny. I did not want it to end.

Nothing to do with the rather more famous musical of the same name, other than thematically... sort of.

My next book: The Complete Poems of Anne Brontë
Helene Jeppesen
Mar 12, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a funny and whimsical story about Barbara, a very beautiful blonde who wants to make people laugh. It's a story about her journey from Blackpool to London - a journey for independence.
"Funny Girl" is also about a sitcom in 1960s London because Barbara gets to be the star of this sitcom. We get behind the scenes and hear about her work and her relationship with the other actors, writers and producers who are all very interesting characters!
What I loved the most about this book is that
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Out of five Hornby’s books I've read, I found this least interesting. I still like the way he writes, I like the dialogue, I like the characters, the tiny little things that happen and what people say to each other. Reading it was enjoyable and I also liked the idea of writing simultaneously about two realities – the real reality and the reality and life of TV characters. However, the story itself was not as fascinating as the other ones have been. It was simply kind of ordinary, things that you ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-goal

What I love about Nick Hornby is that he really gets how messy people are— in and out of love.

Step back 50+ years and you’ll find a cast of characters that will charm, confuse, humor and annoy you. Each and every one looking for love in 1960s London.

I adore the setting, the interspersing of real 1960s British names in the business (and government) and a behind the scenes look at making a BBC sit-com which breaks new TV ground.

I’d call this a fairly quick read with limited conflicts and simp
Heather Fineisen
I am a Nick Hornby Believer, get it? If you do, then you will understand why I don't like Funny Girl. It fell flat, as if Hornby has to let the reader in on the joke. Queue the laugh track, the sad music...maybe this was intentional as the story depicts the making of an I Love Lucy BBC type sitcom. Hornby's strength is his wit and ability to reveal vulnerabilities and foibles while still allowing us to laugh at ourselves. This didn't happen for me. But, I'm still a believer...yeah...I know...sad ...more
Jessica Woodbury
I am a Nick Hornby fan and have been since I read High Fidelity over a decade ago. But I also admit that his recent work often leaves me cold. I had mixed feelings on How to Be Good and couldn't get past the second chapter of A Long Way Down. I'm happy to report that with Funny Girl Hornby returns to form. This book is more like his former work, including Fever Pitch, High Fidelity, and About a Boy. It's not his peak, but it's delightful and a fun read.

While it's set in "London in the Swinging 6
Thomas Strömquist
Great book! The nostalgia of the 60's setting, the extremely good writing capturing both the time and the place so well it plays like a movie in your head, the great dialogue-driven humor and the bitter-sweetness showing through are all 5-star ingredients and makes for a great reading experience.

The middle of the book, though, stalls severely. Not catastrophic in a short book, but it's there. The story and developments are also very dialogue based and we might have gotten to know the characters
Hornby’s seventh novel is an inside look at 1960s British popular culture, as one young woman tries to make it big in television comedy. Despite the title, this is one of his less humorous novels; it has a more bittersweet, reflective tone overall. For me, Tony’s was the most meaningful and noteworthy story, more so than Sophie’s well-trodden rags-to-riches trajectory. With its focus away from contemporary times, this might not be vintage Hornby, but it is a memorable evocation, nevertheless, of ...more
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Barbara Parker is a beautiful Blackpool girl who escapes to London in the 60s hoping to become a comedienne. She adores 'I Love Lucy' and badly wants to get into theatre or TV, however her strong accent is seen as a major problem for the conservative English audiences used to more mellow tones. Changing her name to Sophie Straw she unexpectedly lands a major role in a new TV show where the writers are looking for someone 'different' and her career is launched.

Nick Hornby is such a good writer of
Susan Johnson
3.5 stars
This is the first Nick Hornby book I've read. I did watch both the movie and the TV series "It's about a Boy" and liked both of them very much so I thought I'd give this a go. It's a funny book but it's not a book that stays with you. It's like eating popcorn for dinner. It's fun but it doesn't really fuel you. I will have to say that it may appeal to people in the UK as they will get more of the references than I did. I didn't know a lot of the shows and some of the famous people the
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
What a great book to start off a new year of reading. I love Nick Hornby so I was predisposed to enjoy this book but what's not to like? I love the setting of behind the scenes at the BBC in 1960's London. I love the photos he added to anchor the fictional story in with the real events of that time. Barbara/Sophie was a perfect blend of small town roots and big city aspirations. Hornby shows us the changing values in society as they are reflected back to us in the television shows of that time w ...more
Robin Meadows
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hahaha
Oh dear. Almost everything I love about Nick Hornby is missing from this book. It's not offbeat or funny, I don't care what happens, and it doesn't say much about anything, and what it does say has already been said better by other writers. It feels like he thought, "Hmmm...time to write another book, let's see...I know! I have all these old photos.* I'll just toss them in the air and write a story that fits with how they land."

*This book really is illustrated with old photos.
Jeff Raymond
Man, what a disappointment.

I'm going to get a little spoilery here, so fair warning if you don't want to know anything about the final scenes.

Anyway, Funny Girl. Nick Hornby might be my favorite non-genre author, if not my favorite author outright, so I've been waiting for the United States version of this for a while. Granted, I've been reading a lot of other things while picking away at this, but I almost certainly would have given up on this very quickly had it been written by someone else. I
G.H. Eckel
Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it
If you go into the book expecting a laugh, you'll be disappointed. It's more of a drama about a pretty, British woman from a small town who dreams of being Lucille Ball. Her pageant-winning beauty gains her entry into the writing combine of a bad British TV show. She, however, resurrects the story and becomes its main character. The show is successful and somewhat amusing to the reader. What's interesting is how unfunny most of the novel is but I take that to be an insight into human nature. Som ...more
Simon Hollway
Dec 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
But it's 5 stars really but it's not great literature but it doesn't pretend to be but if I gave it 5 stars it would rank equal to Nabokov in my universe but it doesn't but I did finish it in half a day but I didn't want anything heavy so it did the job but it's got some nice bits in it but I could never write so fluidly so it shouldn't be 3 stars but it can't be 5 but it could be four so let's say four but not four like a Bolano four but four like a Graham Greene but not four like an Aldous Hux ...more
Kelly Lyn
Did not want to put it down and when I did, I found myself not wanting to pick it back up. it was meh!
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Nick Hornby is the author of the novels A Long Way Down, Slam, How to Be Good, High Fidelity, and About a Boy, and the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, Shakespeare Wrote for Money, and The Polysyllabic Spree, as well as the editor of the short-story collection Speaking with the Angel. He is a recipient of the American Acade ...more

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A Lucille Ball-obsessed actress seeks TV stardom in 1960s London in Funny Girl, the first new novel in five years from the author of High Fidelity...
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“What was he doing with her? How on earth could he love her? But he did. Or, at least, she made him feel sick, sad, and distracted. Perhaps there was another way of describing that unique and useless combination of feelings, but “love” would have to do for now.” 8 likes
“She began to fear that she would always be greedy, all the time. Nothing ever seemed to fill her up. Nothing ever seemed to touch the sides.” 8 likes
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