JUST LIKE YOU - NICK HORNBY
Title: Just Like You
Author: Nick Hornby
Published: September 2020
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Lucy used to handle her adult romantic life according to the script she'd been handed. She met a guy just like herself: same age, same background, same hopes and dreams; they got married and started a family. Too bad he made her miserable. Now, two decades later, she's a nearly-divorced, forty-one-year-old schoolteacher with two school-aged sons, and there is no script anymore. So when she meets Joseph, she isn't exactly looking for love--she's more in the market for a babysitter.
Joseph is twenty-two, living at home with his mother, and working several jobs, including the butcher counter where he and Lucy meet. It's not a match anyone one could have predicted. He's of a different class, a different culture, and a different generation. But sometimes it turns out that the person who can make you happiest is the one you least expect, though it can take some maneuvering to see it through.
NICKY'S REVIEW ⭐️
Talk about diving head first into the shallow end of the swimming pool by accident, damn. The level of excitement to get our first taste of Nick Hornby was high, with accolades up to his eyeballs and a fanbase as strong and loyal as any. But frankly, this book gave me absolutely nothing. I thought at first the plot was maybe intentionally subtle, but come halfway my hopes fell to a simple resignation that it was nearing non-existent. The character of Lucy had a few admirable traits, but I couldn't point you to one redeeming quality in Joseph. And last, but most importantly I felt it was too casual when addressing important racial, social and feminism themes and issues, with Hornby's chance to provide a constructive lens diminished. Let this be a lesson fam that the higher the climb, the harder the fall. Speaking of, I am off to put a cold pack on my sore head.
TAY'S REVIEW ⭐️
Where do I even start?? Did I miss Hornby’s intent behind this book? Perhaps it was so deeply nuanced in the writing it went straight over my head? I’ve never read a book written in such a blazé, uninviting tone, as if Hornby himself didn’t really care for the characters or the outcome. To add fuel to the fire, the POV narration was in third person which I personally find fosters a level of detachment, the Brexit commentary was relentless and irrelevant (to me), it was exhaustively dialogue heavy and the male protagonist (and I use that word loosely) was lacklustre, juvenile and misogynistic (I could write a 1000 word essay on his sexist behaviours but #spoilers). The narrative touched on systemic racism, politics, sexism, alcohol & drug addiction, ageism, inter-racial relationships and yet missed the opportunity to hone its focus and facilitate a valuable conversation around any of these topics. Despite all of this, I don’t regret reading this book. On some level, being able to identify when a text is problematic provides me with a sense of fulfilment. Education is power, a liberation that can only come from self-exposure to feminist and social injustices.
Thank you to Penguin Books Australia for sending us a review copy of this book.
You can find more information about the book and purchase a copy here.
Racial profiling, addiction.
OUR FAVOURITE QUOTE
“She wanted intellectual stimulation and sexual excitement, and if she couldn't have that then she didn't need anybody.”
Penguin UK Interview
'A Conversation With Nick Hornby'
The Arts Desk Book Review
'Nick Hornby: Just Like You review - funny but inauthentic Brexit novel'