Philip's Reviews > A Long Way Down

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
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I'm such a freakin' fence rider. I can see why people would love this book. I can see why people would loathe this book. But can I pick one side or the other myself? No. Heck, I can't pick out pizza toppings or ice cream flavors, so why should I be able to figure out whether to give this book one star or five? I hope I'm not the only one who feels this way about reviewing books... I feel so isolated.

Four people decide to kill themselves and go to the local suicide hotspot on the suicide night of the year, New Year. Upon seeing others up there and making some interesting/vulgar/half-hearted/deceitful introductions they decide to postpone their introductions with death for a while.

So, the book's not really plot driven. But I never really felt like it was character driven either. I can't think of a single character that I... ummm... wait. I can't think of a single character. That can't be a good thing in a character driven book. So we've got these four forgettable characters coming together to deal with their crappy lives.

Ah, but crappy lives, that's something we can all relate to. Let me clear things up, my life is basically perfect. I've got a great family, a great home, and a job I love. But I bet everybody has something in them that says, "yeah... but if I only had this..." Not that those desires are enough to make us suicidal, besides everybody has had crappy moments in life, otherwise what allows us to appreciate the good?

I wanted to like this book more. I want to give it a five star review, but the more I think about it, (and I've sat here... just sat here... thinking/daydreaming for like 4 minutes now) the more I'm wondering if the only reason I like it at all is because I'm supposed to and because Nick Hornby just collaborated with Ben Folds on a really tight album... in one song Hornby voice-overs how Dickens created over 13,000 characters - a character a day - and what's Hornby done? Dropped the kids off at school, listened to The National album, and played a stupid computer game... "that's why I'm not Dickens... kids."

That made me like Hornby a little more, but I'm not sure that it made me like his book any more. Maybe he could blame my not giving his book 5 stars on his kids. Or maybe I could blame it on mine. Either way, I need to find a scapegoat.
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Reading Progress

November 1, 2010 – Started Reading
November 1, 2010 – Shelved
November 11, 2010 –
page 201
54.62%
November 17, 2010 –
page 312
84.78%
November 19, 2010 – Finished Reading
November 20, 2010 – Shelved as: audio

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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message 1: by Liz (new)

Liz Love the song link.


Philip Yeah, I know right? "It'd take 15 years to read the titles of every book that's been printed."


message 3: by Amanda (new)

Amanda I can't get enough of that song/video.


Philip I know! I love it. I bought some other Pomplamoose songs too after I bought that one. I didn't realize "Telephone" was originally a Lady Gaga song...

Liz mentioned you put it on your facebook status update. That made me happy.


message 5: by Liz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Liz Jukovsky You hit the nail on the head with the "character driven with forgettable characters" assessment. That's exactly it! I was trying to put my finger on what bothered me about this book and you summarized it perfectly.


Philip Thanks, Liz. I really think I should give Hornby another shot. This is the only book of his I've read, and it's hardly considered his greatest book.


message 7: by Liz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Liz Jukovsky I liked High Fidelity. That's the only other one of his I've read.


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