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Sweet Sorrow

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  10,767 ratings  ·  1,173 reviews
One life-changing summer
Charlie meets Fran...

In 1997, Charlie Lewis is the kind of boy you don't remember in the school photograph. His exams have not gone well. At home he is looking after his father, when surely it should be the other way round, and if he thinks about the future at all, it is with a kind of dread.

Then Fran Fisher bursts into his life and despite himself,
Paperback, 405 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Hachette
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Popular Answered Questions I'm sure you don't need an answer any more, still i want to weigh in that parts can be depressing, including the marriage strife and depression around…moreI'm sure you don't need an answer any more, still i want to weigh in that parts can be depressing, including the marriage strife and depression around the juvenile narrator's parents. This is quite drawn out - it's not the center of the story, but it's always there. Also the narrator himself has a slightly apathetic character i'd say, he's certainly not upbeat, but resigns to low expectations. All in all, while i liked this book - and would never read something really tragic anytime - i wouldn't call it "lighthearted". It has light moments with snappy dialogue for sure though. (less)
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Bryan Hallett
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,767 ratings  ·  1,173 reviews

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Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-lit-uk
David Nicholls, the Booker nominated author and screenwriter, in Sweet Sorrow, has written a tender, realistic and very funny story about the trauma of first love.
Charlie is a typical 16 year old, leaving the school gates for the last time, blinking uncertainly in the hard light of the big world outside.
He has the odd flash of wit and is moderately good looking but Charlie is pretty ordinary in most respects - mucking about with his mates, full of bravado, messily experimenting with alchohol and
Charlotte May
Bittersweet. 💖

I enjoyed this most recent book by David Nicholls, I loved One Day and so was feeling pretty confident.

Charlie lives in a small town in Surrey (or Sussex) not far from London, but far enough away. He’s just completed his GCSE exams and now faces the endless summer.

He is a typical average teenage boy, his friends are dicks but he never stands up to them. His father has severe depression since Charlie’s mother left them and he tries to spend as little time at home as possible.

Peter Boyle
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I remember the last time I bought a David Nicholls novel. I brought Us to the counter and the woman at the till said: "Oh! Do men read him too?" I wasn't quite sure what to make of that. Maybe it's down to the fact that One Day, Nicholls' biggest hit, has a sweeping romance at its core and therefore his work is unsuitable for us fellas. I suppose I should have purchased the latest Bear Grylls Survival Guide instead.

Well I'm a David Nicholls fan and I'm not ashamed to admit it. He writes so perce
David Nicholls writes a sweet, nostalgic coming of age story of first love, a heady affair composed of teenage angst, insecurities, fear, jealousies, fraught emotions and all the mass of confusion that besets the teenage soul at the tender age of sixteen. In the present, Charlie is preparing to get married, but can't help looking back to 1997, school had broken, aware he has not done well in his exams, an endless summer lies in front of him, unsure of what the future holds for him but feeling th ...more
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of good music
I had forgotten how refreshing Nicholl’s writing style can be. Like in the previous novels I have read by him, there are plenty of musical references from the 80s to make one’s heart beat with nostalgia while a silly, unconscious smile is permanently planted on your face.
Nicholls knows precisely how to do that. How to involve the reader, almost in a casual way that breathes out depth. Depth of feeling, depth in character construction, depth in building a story that goes back and forth in time to
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2020
I have changed my rating several times while sitting here trying to decide what to write about this book. I am dithering between three and four stars but I am going to go with ………...three.

Basically it was a pleasant read. The characters were okay if a bit annoying. Oh except for Charlie's mother who was awful. Charlie himself had been dealt a very rough deal and meeting Fran was probably the saving of him.

Mostly it was a fairly normal coming of age tale interspersed with lots of Shakespeare, wh
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1997 sixteen year old Charlie Lewis has just finished his last year at school in a small town in Sussex. It's not been a good year for him. His mother has left the marriage, moving in with another man and his two daughters, taking Charlie's younger sister with her, but leaving Charlie alone with his depressed and recently bankrupt father. Charlie knows he's done badly in his GCSE exams and won't be going on to sixth form college and apart from a few hours working at a service station doesn't ...more
“. . . and it occurred to me then, just as it does now, that the greatest lie that age tells about youth is that it’s somehow free of care, worry or fear.

Good God, doesn’t anyone remember?”

Sweet sorrow this is – a tender, nostalgic reminiscence of Charlie Lewis, now in his thirties, about his 16-year-old self - not sporty, not a nerd, not an outcast, not handsome, not ugly, and not exceptional in any way. But also not without friends, though his are hardly a gang. They’re just a loose bunch
Elyse  Walters by Rory Kinnear

The title “Sweet Sorrow” .... an oxymoron .... is spot-on-to-a-T.
....words from the play Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare. Their sorrowful parting is also sweet because it made them think about the next time they will see each other.

Throughout this tragicomedy- coming-of-age novel....we journey along with Charlie Lewis.....
....sometimes I was chuckling....
....sometimes the storytelling (and *Charlie*) were adorably sweet....
.....sometimes the story to
Catherine Woodward
*Many thanks to Goodreads, Mariner, and David Nicholls for this ARC! Now available as of 8.4!*

David Nicholls definitely has found his passion as a writer, and it lies in exploring the concept of nostalgia and first love. I was really excited to read this one after thoroughly enjoying One Day, but I feel as though that book is better executed and dives a lot deeper than this one for me. Charlie takes his readers back through an important summer for him, the last summer before college, and delves
Joachim Stoop
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it

Let's talk movies and TV (and food):

Imagine the sitcom Friends was unpopular and quite unknown and you just discovered and binge watched it. Of course you want to convince others to check it out. And now, go back to reality and think about what a major succes it really was and still is, and how no real self respecting TV-expert would name it as his or her all-time favourite show. That's perhaps the only downside of that big a succes. Same counts for some beststelling authors. In my opinion bo
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, favorites

... the greatest lie that age tells about youth is that it’s somehow free of care, worry or fear.
Good God, doesn’t anyone remember?

I’ve been traveling on a bumpy (literary) road in 2019, with many detours into other hobbies and quite a few potholes along the way, but at least I saved the best for last. After reading “One Day”, I knew David Nicholls was my kinda writer, so I saved his new novel for the winter holidays and I was not disappointed. I’m not sure that I can, or even that I should, f
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
'First love is like a stupid pop song that you hear and you think, well this is all I will ever want to listen to, it's got everything. 'Course, we wouldn't put it on now. We're too hard and experienced and sophisticated. But when it comes on the radio, well, it's still a good song."

This author never puts a foot wrong in the 'bittersweet' novel genre, as far as I'm concerned. And here, David Nicholls expertly sidesteps any hint of sickly schmaltz - which is quite a feat when writing about the ro
The title is a snippet from Romeo and Juliet, which provides the setup and subject matter for this novel about first love during the golden summer of 1997, when Charlie Lewis and Fran Fisher are 16. Charlie thinks he’s way too cool for the thespians, but if he wants to keep seeing Fran he has to join the Full Fathom Five Theatre Co-operative for the five weeks of rehearsals leading up to performances. Besides, he doesn’t have anything better to do – besides watching his dad get drunk on the couc ...more
Margaret James
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was sent an advance reading copy of this new book, and I must admit that after loving One Day, then finding Us rather disappointing, I started reading Sweet Sorrow with a feeling of trepidation. But, after a slogging through the first few chapters of set-up, it hooked me, and I was soon going to bed early so I could read more of Charlie Lewis's most engaging story.

Charlie is sixteen, has big problems at home, and is failing at school. One morning he goes out on his bike and encounters a group
Jan 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
I couldn’t even finish this trite and banal coming-of-age tale – although I did skip to the end to see what happened and to find out if I wanted to persevere. I didn’t. Tedious self-indulgent ramblings from a tedious self-indulgent teenager looking back on the big romance of his youth. Nothing and no one engaged me, I wasn’t interested in the narrative, such as it was, and so I gave up. Unconvincing and uninteresting.
A good book, but not up there with my favourites from this author.

Charlie Lewis has just finished his high school exams. He knows he hasn't done well, but he doesn't entirely blame it on his parents for separating during his exam prep... With a long, aimless summer stretched in front of him, and wanting to be out of the house, away from his depressed, unemployed dad, Charlie spends his days cycling the countryside and reading through his father's collection of books. It's while he's laying in a
Sharon Metcalf
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, 2020, netgalley
I read One Day by David Nicholls five years ago and I still think of it as one of my favorite romance novels.  I also recall it as a very sad and ugly cry inducing book yet I loved it.    Soon after  I went back and tried another novel by this author and couldn't have been more disappointed.     Five years on I read the blurb for Sweet Sorrow and figured I would give David Nicholls another try as this one sounded similar to the one I'd loved.    It turns out this was a great decision.    I love ...more
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it
If you've never read any David Nicholls, this is a great book. Atmospheric, funny, well written, heartwarming, lovely. The problem is that if you've read all his other books, it reads like a David Nicholls Paint-By-Numbers, or whatever the book-version of that would be...

Fran is a great character, but I've come to the sudden, horrid realisation that she's exactly the same as every main female character in every book by David Nicholls. Though his main male characters are marginally more varied, i
ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook
What a wonderful book. The author's words made me laugh, smile, get angry and even cry through the whole thing. David Nicholls really made me feel every bit of what Charlie was going through during entire book. Fran really took Charlie on quite the journey in this story. With characters so well drawn you can picture them in your head. With heart and soul, love and heartbreak...what a delightful tale.

This book lifted my spirits and just I wanted to keep reading until I found out what would happen
RATING: 2.5 Stars, rounded up

It was kinda boring (or maybe that’s because I’m still young) but the ending struck something in me.
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“In the chaos of our family’s self-destruction he had quietly and unassumingly made himself present and though I could hardly recall a conversation that might be considered personal or honest, in the strange, mute semaphore of teenage boys he’d communicated a sense of care and somehow passed on the message to the others, an unspoken command to be, if not kind , then not actively cruel.”

Sweet Sorrow is the fifth novel by British author, David Nicholls. It was mid-1997, school was done, and sixtee
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book reviews on

Having eagerly anticipated the new novel by one of my favourite authors, David Nicholls, I hoped Sweet Sorrow would live up to the excellent standard of his previous novels. I'm glad to say it does; it's a beautifully written book that takes us through 16 year old Charlie's summer as he waits for his GCSE results. So in the sense of the characters in this book, it's obvious that they are very different to those in his previous novels, but no less likable.

For t
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
While I was reading this book I kept trying to think of the right adjective for it. Conventional? Bland? Square? Yes, they all fit but don't quite capture the essence I'm searching for. The best I can come up with is 'nice', as used in the negative sense. As in 'too nice'. When you say someone's too nice, you really mean they're boring or irritating in a way that's somehow connected to their niceness. This book is too nice. ...more
Gumble's Yard
Aug 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
The book starts in 1997, on 16 year old Charlie Lewis’s last day at his Surrey/Sussex border town comprehensive school. Charlie is a largely invisible student – tagging along with a gang of three other boys who are the classroom clowns. His anger at his Mother leaving him with his father and at the lethargy and depression of the latter, already struggling from the collapse of the family record shop chain and his earlier saxophone player career – was played out in a complete failure to study for ...more
Dale Dean
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Life often imitates art and more so than art imitating life. I philosophise that now at midnight and more or less quote oscar wilde. But how to reach that conclusion is through the ages borrowing from Shakespeare or plutarch the Greeks the romans. David Nicholls I believe creates that impression in his wonderful heartfelt book sweet Sorrow.

Charlie Lewis is 16. He's dreading his gcse results his home life is in turmoil and the summer ahead is always long. But what to do? Well it changes his life
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am so deeply obsessed with everything that David Nicholls writes, a new book from him is like coming home or catching up with old friends.

All his books are destined to become well-worn copies. His latest is ‘Sweet Sorrow’ and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with it. It has the sharp coming-of-age humour from ‘Starter For Ten’, mixed with the heady poignancy of first love that ‘One Day’ gave us - it’s the story of 16-year-old Charlie Lewis who meets Fran Fisher one summer, and will never be the
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a sweet coming of age story. A nice read but not as good as I had expected.
I found it quite funny in places and by the end felt the story was pleasantly concluded.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is my first David Nicholls book. Until recently I associated Nicholls with Nick Hornby, whom I associated with About a Boy, which made me think of Hugh Grant and although I don't particularly dislike Hugh Grant I've never really wanted him anywhere near my reading material which, I guess, makes me a bit of a book snob. Wanting to read more commercially, I found myself reaching for Sweet Sorrow, opening it at the first page and promptly bursting into tears on reading the epigraph; a Carso
Emma (escapetothebookshelf)
Nicholls' writing is really something else, he is an incredible storyteller and this book is a wonderful display of his talent. The story follows a boy named Charlie throughout the summer after leaving school. He has family troubles at home and knows that he flunked his exams, but his summer takes a different turn when he bumps into a girl named Fran Fisher. Fran is part of a group putting on a production of Romeo and Juliet and Charlie ends up involved in the group also, primarily only to get c ...more
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Bookish First Rea...: Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls 3 16 Jan 21, 2020 04:58AM  

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David Nicholls is a British author, screenwriter, and actor. A student of Toynbee Comprehensive school and Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, he Graduated from the University of Bristol having studied English Literature and Drama.

After graduation, he won a scholarship to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, before returning to London in 1991 and finally earning an Equity

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