Monday, August 10, 2015

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby is a novel about a young woman living in England in the ‘60s.  I’ve enjoyed the movies About a Boy and High Fidelity based on his novels so I was curious to read this one. When the publisher sent this to me by mistake, I wasn’t disappointed because I’ve been wanting to read a novel by Hornby for a while.

This is a light bit of fluff that doesn’t provoke a lot of thought or emotion.  I didn’t care about any of the characters.  The main character, Barbara, has ambitions.  Born in a small town, she wants to go to London and be an actress like her idol Lucille Ball.  I kept waiting for Barbara to change more than her name but the final sentence of this novel proves that she is two-dimensional and doesn’t change.  None of the characters evolve and, although they are pleasant enough, they aren’t especially likable.  Even when the interrelationships change, the characters themselves stay the same. 

Vapid, or banal, or uninspired, or just forgettable, there's nothing brilliant about this novel.  From the characters to the predictable plot devices to the not so surprising conflicts, I just can't think of anything to especially recommend this book except to say it is an adequate beach novel.   I had hoped to laugh and did find myself occasionally smiling but nothing more.  As I was reading, I could see how it would make a charming movie, but there’s a difference between sitting back and watching pretty people perform on a screen and slogging through a book that’s supposed to be entertaining and humorous.  I don’t know if this novel is indicative of the author’s writing. If so, I’ll not read another novel by him. 
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