Friday, August 20, 2010

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

A Long Way Down

by Nick Hornby
published 2005
completed May 2010

Four people have the same idea--commit suicide at midnight on New Year's Eve.  Not knowing about the others, they all arrive at the roof of Topper's.  Martin, Maureen, Jess, and JJ meet for the first time that night and can't stand each other, but they all decide to meet to reevaluate their choice to end their lives on Valentine's Day.

The first-person narration switches between the four main characters.  Hornby does an excellent job of making each narrator's voice unique.  This little group never really gets along, but through their interaction they each are able to come to terms with what brought them to the brink of suicide.  For a book being about potential suicide, it is quite humorous.  Nick Hornby is masterful in making this book the perfect mix of dark humor and honest sentiment.  I appreciate the fact that this book never turns into a "Dr. Phil" session.  They aren't sharing feelings or helping each other solve life's problems.  Some members of the group try to meddle, but it ends up backfiring.

There isn't much resolution in the end.  No one has a life-altering experience where they are now healed of their depression.  You just get a sense that they are all in a slightly better place and there is hint of hope.

As a warning, there are generous amounts of the "f" word in this book, so if that is offensive to you, this book is not for you.  It was a little too much for me, but I really enjoyed the book so I kept going.  I've read several reviews of this book and it is pretty evenly split down the middle.  Many hate it, and many love it.  I don't know if I would say I loved it, but I really enjoyed it.  I think the heavy language would keep me from unequivocally recommending A Long Way Down.

I read this as part of the Take Another Chance Challenge hosted by Jenners at Find Your Next Book Here.  This qualifies for challenge #9--Same Word, Different Book.  My other qualifying book is Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster.

1 comment:

  1. This seems wildly different than Daddy Long Legs ... that is for sure.

    I love the premise of this book, and I've read a few Hornby books and enjoyed them so I think I'll have to check this one out too.