Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Long Way Down: Review

Synopsis (from the book flap): Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year's Eve: a former TV talk-show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Toppers' House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives.

In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, Nick Hornby tells the story of four individuals confronting the limits of choice, circumstance and their own mortality. Intense, hilarious, provocative, emotional, A Long Way Down is a novel that asks big questions: about life and death, strangers and friendship, love and pain, and what it takes to make through a long, dark night of the soul.

My Take: So....I'm guessing that somewhere in the 333 pages I read that there's a story full of deep meaning.  I mean it says so in the synopsis, right? And a whole bunch of people on Goodreads gave it good ratings and talk about how wonderful it is...and by the way it's funny. Hilarious even. Um. Right. I suppose if you find pages and pages sprinkled with the f-bomb all over the place while four people are dealing with suicidal thoughts funny, then, yeah, it's a riot. You see....I couldn't manage to pay attention to the story much because I was studiously trying to avoid all the swearing. It was like maneuvering through a mine field and there was no possible way I was going to pick up on any deep meaning when I was too busy being annoyed by all the four-letter words. Seriously--a couple of these folks are supposed to be fairly well educated and they couldn't possibly come up with any other way to express themselves anywhere in the entire book? Not a single conversation without f--- or various spicy little British swears? And don't tell me that everybody talks that way. No. Not everybody. There are plenty of people that I know who don't. And people who may use that sort of language--but not all the live-long day every day.

If Hornby has such an awesome story to tell, then it would be nice to be able to enjoy it.  I couldn't. And, I have to say that much as I adore Pierce Brosnan--if his character (and the others) speak that way throughout the movie that's being released on July 11 (so sayeth Google), then I'll be giving it a miss.  

Oh...and you might be wondering why I bothered to slog my way through this. That heroic effort was all for the Semi-Charmed Summer Reading Challenge which requires us to read a book that has been or is being made into a movie in 2014--and the synopsis struck me as interesting when I was hunting for a suitable entry. A good read? No. Challenges met? Yes! So a win for me even if I can't recommend the book.  Your mileage may vary.

No rating because I don't want to be mean.


fredamans said...

Sometimes I swear so much, I don't know I'm doing it.
Sad but true.
Great review though. Always good to see another view.

Bev Hankins said...

Thanks, Freda. It's not like I don't hear the language--I do. But I really can't take much of it concentrated in a story I'm supposed to be reading. Just doesn't work for me.