Buggy's Reviews > High Fidelity

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
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's review
Oct 22, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, rock-gods, shelf-11, british, media-tie-in

Opening line: My desert -island, all time, top five most memorable split-ups, in chronological order:”

This is one of those modern classics on everyone’s “to read” list and while it wasn’t my first Nick Hornby book it is the one that everyone talks about so of course I went into this expecting to be awed. I guess I should mention that I haven’t seen the movie (what! I know) so I knew nothing about the storyline, not that that would have influenced me I just went into this blind.

And, well I wish I could say I loved this (since that would make me one of the cool kids) but honestly the best I can come up with is under whelmed. Of course the writing is wonderful and it really is laugh-out-loud funny in places but I also found myself alternating between skim reading (because the story wasn’t going anywhere) and all the 80’s pop music references and top 5 lists got to be a bit much. But then I'd catch myself rereading and marking numerous passages because they were just genius, describing exactly how I felt/feel.

I should tell you that the music references are somewhat dated now and anyone under the age of 40 will be scratching their heads especially if you live in America as this involves British pop music and Indie bands.

I think one of the main problems for me is that our protagonist Rob isn’t a very likable character. It was hard to have any sort of compassion for him or for that matter even want to read about him. I actually found myself preferring any of the sections that placed him with other people because when we were alone in his head being all introspective I got bored. Rob is immature, selfish, self-absorbed and depressed, stuck in a job, apartment and relationship that have all gone stale. He has zero self confidence yet at the same time is so full of himself that he expects everything to revolve around him, which of course it doesn’t and this in turn makes him lash out at his friends, parents and girlfriend to feel better about the state of his life.

Rob is a bit of a loser; a thirty-something music junkie he spends his days running a near failing record shop and reminiscing about the 80’s when he was semi successful DJ. Rob’s life has stalled and he can’t see a way out so he compiles top 5 lists of his favourite bands, songs, episodes of Cheers etc, insults his equally lost friends and plots ways to kill the guy who lives in the flat upstairs and stole his girlfriend. Along the way Rob manages to grow up, (some) and realizes change might not be so horrible.
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Quotes Buggy Liked

Nick Hornby
“I've committed to nothing...and that's just suicide...by tiny, tiny increments.”
Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Nick Hornby
“If you really wanted to mess me up, you should have got to me earlier.”
Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Nick Hornby
“I'm very good at the past. It's the present I can't understand.”
Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Nick Hornby
“It's brilliant, being depressed; you can behave as badly as you like.”
Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Nick Hornby
“…I've had a bad week."
What's happened?"
Nothing's happened. I've had a bad week in my head, is all.”
Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Nick Hornby
“It's no wonder we're all such a mess, is it? We're like Tom Hanks in Big. Little boys and girls trapped in adult bodies and forced to get on with it. ”
Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Nick Hornby
“Those days are gone, and good fucking riddance to them; unhappiness really meant something back then. Now it's just a drag, like a cold or having no money. If you really wanted to mess me up, you should have got to me earlier.”
Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Reading Progress

October 22, 2010 – Shelved
September 21, 2011 – Started Reading
September 29, 2011 –
page 196
October 31, 2011 –
page 323
October 31, 2011 – Shelved as: fiction
October 31, 2011 – Shelved as: rock-gods
October 31, 2011 – Shelved as: shelf-11
October 31, 2011 – Finished Reading
January 21, 2014 – Shelved as: british
February 6, 2014 – Shelved as: media-tie-in

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Lane I loved the movie and the book! How are you liking it?

Buggy The writing is wonderful but I'm finding all the music references very dated (and I can remember all the 80's music.) I think this would be a tough read for someone in their 20's. I've actually never een this movie, one of those modern classics I just haven't gotten to yet.

message 3: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Lane The music is dated and a bit eclectic, as I recall. The movie is really great. John Cusack + Jack Black = win!

Greta is Erikasbuddy I've never seen this movie either and normally I'm such a cool kid ;) LOLZ!

Awesome review! I probably wouldn't dig it either :)

message 5: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Lane Great review, Buggy. I read this after the movie so maybe that influenced my opinion. Maybe I viewed Rob more positively since John Cusack played him in the movie.

Buggy Thanks Greta -I know! I SO wanted to be one of the cool kids.

Buggy And thanks Jennifer, You make a great point, I think John Cusak would have changed my opinion about Rob. I really wanted to love this book

Elin Hmm, I may have to watch the film... this review is exactly what I thought about this book too - you've saved me the trouble of writing a review! Thanks :)

Buggy Thanks so much Elin, glad I'm not alone with my views. I have since watched the movie and I didn't think much of it either (even with John Cusack and Jack Black)

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