Susan Johnson's Reviews > Us

Us by David Nicholls
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really liked it

Us tells the story of a disintegration of the twenty five year marriage of Douglas and Connie. There are no major blow ups but it is a just a relationship that it is worn out. There is not enough passion to be angry but Douglas is resisting the break up. He still loves his wife.

They decide to still do their month long tour with their 17 year old son, Albie, touring Europe from one corner to another. Douglas is hoping to rekindle the romance and Connie, frankly, just seems to want to travel with their little family one more time. Albie, like all teen-agers ready for college, wants to go by himself. He very grudgingly goes along.

For an American the European tour is just breathtaking. I just can't wrap my mind around how easy it is to travel in Europe. In four hours they have been flying over many countries. In four hours I can't even get out of California in any direction. I love the train travel stories and just the ease of getting around.

Douglas is a scientist and quite smug about it. He can not imagine anyone wanting to do anything else. When Albie decides he wants to be a photographer, Douglas is appalled. He tells his son anyone can do that. It's only a select few that can be a scientist and make a real difference. I thought who would be that insensitive? Then I realized that Douglas is a real life Sheldon Cooper from "The Big Bang Theory." He has the same traits as Sheldon in not knowing how he sounds to other people, his amazement that anybody would want to be anything but him and his inability to pick up cues from other people.
In one episode Douglas creates a Lego sculpture then glues it so Albie can not destroy it. He is sure he will be greeted with applause and great awe. Instead Albie cries because he can no longer use his Legos. Douglas is bewildered and I could see this scene on "Big Bang".

Needless to say Douglas and Albie have a troubled relationship and how things unfold create new stresses. It's that exploration of how to repair things that is quite interesting. None of the characters are particularly likable. Douglas is Sheldon Cooper, Connie often mocks him and helps wedge some dislike between father and son, and Albie, like most 17 year olds feels he is quite entitled.

By the end of the book, I was glad I had met them but I was very tired of them. It was just like I had spent a month with family travelling around Europe.
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Reading Progress

June 30, 2015 – Shelved
June 30, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
July 15, 2015 – Started Reading
July 20, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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message 1: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara Have this on my Kindle....maybe on my trip.


Susan Johnson I only have this because Allan rated it one of his top five. It isn't something I would normally pick up.


message 3: by Cathleen (new)

Cathleen Susan wrote: "I only have this because Allan rated it one of his top five. It isn't something I would normally pick up."

I'll be curious what you both think of it. When I first started seeing it, it didn't seem like my cup of tea. But then when I saw Allan rated it so highly and you both have it, it made me reconsider. Not that I'm easily influenced, or anything :)


message 4: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara Cathleen wrote: "Susan wrote: "I only have this because Allan rated it one of his top five. It isn't something I would normally pick up."

I'll be curious what you both think of it. When I first started seeing it, ..."


Luckily I got it as a Kindle daily deal so it's not taking up shelf space.


Allan Guys, this might be a 'guy' thing, as I know that a lot of the female members of the group read this and didn't like it. It's not like 'One Day' anyway...


Susan Johnson I'm intrigues now, Allan. Is it really like Hemingway (male oriented)? Maybe we should just designate one person to read. Still I value your opinion so much. After all you gave me Willie Vlautin and Adrian McKinty.


Emma Flanagan I'm not sure it's necessarily a guy thing. I had personal reasons for not enjoying it which aren't particularly linked to gender. You're right though it's no One Day.


message 8: by Allan (last edited Jul 01, 2015 11:51PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Allan Susan, it's not male orientated in a misogynist way or anything,but given what I've seen some write about the book, it seems to be that male readers identify with / are more sympathetic towards the lead character. I must add that I loved the author's first three books, including One Day, but this one is more like his first two, Starter For Ten and The Understudy, given the hapless male featured.


Susan Johnson I'm reading this because Allan likes it so much.


Allan I really hope you don't hate it, Susan-I know others in the group were disappointed! :)


Donna McCaul Thibodeau I would not say it's male oriented at all. I didn't like it because I found all three of the main characters to be annoying. If I read a book, I want to like at least one person in it.


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