By Nick Hornby
Review by Dom
I’ve had a life-long love affair with books and with music, which is probably why Hornby’s tale of a record store owner’s path to maturity resonated with me so well. The novel (Hornby’s first) tells the story of Rob Fleming, a thirty-something seeker, who is dumped by his girlfriend, Laura, and then proceeds to figure out life and love with a backdrop of “Top Five” lists.
Listen, many of us have looked back on our lives and wondered about those insignificant twists and turns that eventually led to much larger revelations. For Rob it’s a matter of tracking down the five women involved his most important relationships (all of them of the “failed” variety), and trying to fathom what it all means.
I loved the setting of the record store, if only because it allows us to laugh at the sometimes-inane banter between Rob and his wacky clerk, Dick and Barry. Their constant impromptu Top Five lists keep what could’ve been a depressing tale on a lighter, more introspective, plateau.
You might’ve seen the movie - which I also enjoyed immensely, because it’s hard to go wrong with John Cusack and Jack Black - but, if so, be prepared for a few changes. While the movie was set in Chicago, the novel takes place in London. The pace and humor, however, are outstanding in both.
It’s true that some people see this as a “guy’s book,” but I think that’s wrong. Sure, the narrator is a man, but the issues will be familiar - and funny - to anyone who’s had their heart broken or done their fair share of breaking hearts. Nick Hornby is a terrific storyteller, and has a knack for making you laugh while evoking memories of difficult times.
This is a fun read, and highly recommended. Find it for twenty percent off at all three locations of The Tattered Cover Book Store. Just ask them to point you in the direction of The Dom and Jane Book Club. Enjoy!