A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
I’ve never ready any of Nick Horby’s other books, but I’ve always meant to. They’ve always been on a tentative back burner of books I would like to read, I’ve never gotten around to it. That was, until, I decided to read A Long Way Down. I saw it on a list of books that were being turned into movies and I thought the premise sounded interesting. Four strangers meet on New Year’s Eve on the rooftop of Topper’s House, one of London’s most popular places to commit suicide, with the intention of ending it all. These very different people different walks of life form a bond as they work through the decision to keep living.
It’s strange to say that you like a book that has a such a serious topic as suicide. It’s even stranger to say how much this book actually made me laugh and smile. But, I did like this book and it did make me laugh and smile. Obviously there are somber portions of the book and the characters are working through very real issues, but that doesn’t mean that the book is completely depressing. Hornby creates a delicate balance between light and dark that seems to ring true to real life.
The book is written from the first person narratives of the topper’s four. Alternating between the inner thoughts of the individual characters and their points of view on life creates the stark differences between the characters. The different narratives also kept me reading because I always wanted to see how one person’s thoughts and actions resolved themselves through the eyes of another character.
What I think I liked the most about this book is how messy it is. The characters aren’t necessarily the most likable. They have real problems and these problems aren’t resolved by being tied up neatly with a bow at the end. There aren’t even huge grand gestures to suggest how absolutely amazing life is. There is just life and this strange group of people who found themselves together at their lowest moment.
While I haven’t yet seen the movie version of this book, I did see the trailer and judging from this alone, it looks like they did a spectacular job with casting. With that being said, it does appear that the movie version looks, shall I say, “fluffier” than the book. Regardless, I’ll most likely see the movie when it’s released in the United States (it doesn’t hurt that one of my favorite actors, Aaron Paul, is in the movie)!
If you read A Long Way Down let me know your thoughts. I actually can see some people really disliking the book for the very reasons that I liked it. Also let me know what other Nick Hornby books you might recommend (if you recommend any, that is)!