Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Long Way Down

This book is a snapshot in the lives of four VERY different strangers who found each other on a rooftop on New Years Eve preparing to commit suicide. One is a no name American rocker who went to deliver pizzas and took a detour to the roof. One is a mother of a mentally disabled child who has cared for him for 20 years and now can't take it anymore. The other an 18 year old girl with melodramatic issues who feels jilted and just can't bear to live, and finally Mark who just finished a prison sentence after having been a famous tv talk show host in England until he cheated on his wife with a fifteen year old who lied about his age.

They each go utterly convinced that it is their last night on earth but they all happened to choose the same place to top themselves. Finding each other on the roof top they get distracted, argue, and somehow find themselves off the roof though all of them consider this "coming down the ledge" as merely a temporary thing, infact, they agree to simply wait a little while and then meet again to see if they still want to go through with it.

The book follows them as crazy but perfectly believable series of events happen and we watch. It's told in the first person with each person getting a chapter a time to explain things from their perspectiv. I like that, it's pretty neat because there are times you will be reading through one character's eyes and completely loath another character. Then the next chapter is the character you despise, and the chapter helps you understand why they are they way they are a little bit better.

My only hesitation with the book is that I feel its trying TOO hard to be "non-cliche" and though I normally adore Nick Hornby's writing this book was a little too... vernacular? for me. For example there is a lot of "yeah you probably think this will be a happy ending but its not" and other sorts of dialogue. I feel nick hornby is trying so hard to not be be cheesy and trite such injections sound defensive and not contributing towards the feel of the book.