Monday, December 27, 2010

Juliet, Naked; Or Breaking Up with Nick Hornby

Oh Nick, I think it’s time we part ways. I really, really do. We’ve had some amazing times - High Fidelity, About a Boy, Fever Pitch – and during those times, I never thought this day would come. But Nick, you’ve disappointed me too many times in a row now. And I’m puzzled. What happened? What happened to the great “maleness” you gave your characters – those funny, self-deprecating, quirky yet redeeming men that graced the pages of my favorites of yours? Sure, we all evolve and I understand you had to try something new, like speaking from a female voice (How to be Good) or the voice of a child (Slam), but when those things didn’t work for you (and honestly, they so didn’t work for you), why didn’t you go back to what did?

I talked you up, man. I would rave about you. I wrote papers in college analyzing your complex characters. Those first books are ones I keep on my shelves – they’ve moved with me from dorm room to first apartment to condo to townhouse. They've never been thought of as bait for Half-Priced Books. That’s how much they mean to me. Yet, with each following book you’ve written, part of my love for you dies. Your stories aren’t funny anymore. They’re actually either puzzling or quite boring, in fact. And why should I continue to love someone who bores me?

This last book, Juliet, Naked, was the nail in the coffin, I’m afraid. I did finish it, for the most part because it was quick and something to do on the bus, but I was never attached to any of the characters. Not the jerk/creepy music fanatic, not the lonely middle-aged woman, not the washed up, lazy rock star. Nothing stuck with me, and really I didn’t see the point in the story at all. And that lackluster ending? If I had liked the book, it would’ve been a complete disappointment. But then, its lackluster-ness might have just been on par with the rest of the story. If so, you get props for consistency, I suppose.

So, Nick, I’ve been disappointed one too many times. I’m going to have to say goodbye. I’m too busy to waste my time on you anymore. I would say: it’s not you, it’s me. But that would be a lie. It’s you.


doahleigh said...

My husband had every Hornby book when we moved in together, so I gave several a try. Some I liked, many I didn't. And I agree about Juliet, Naked. I only got through it because it was on audiobook and I had nothing else to listen to on my long commute.

manda said...

Yes!!! I love this fierce post. I can't say I've done the same with authors, but with bands-for sure (Steven is still mending his heart from a break-up with the sell-out Kings of Leon). What a great break-up post!