Monday, November 30, 2009

Closing Thoughts: High Fidelity

# of pages: 323
Pages read so far: 3,732
Avg pages/book: 311

Once again: Wow.

I hated this book.

You remember how I said I wanted Richard (of Neverwhere) to stop whining and get on with the story? High Fidelity's Rob is approximately six hundred times worse. I got the impression I was supposed to laugh at the guy's haphazardness, his childish inability to move past the latest live-in girlfriend to dump him, his awkwardness in the social scene, and his uncomfortable situations involving his ex, his mom, her mom, et cetera. But I didn't. Rob spent the entire book being petty and childish, and rather than finding it amusing I found it exasperatingly annoying.

I thought for awhile that the book was going to be a coming-of-age type tale, the journey of a man who's lost in life and finally is forced to learn to grow up and stop being a baby. And had that been the case, I would totally have been cool with selfish whiny emo Rob (who was 35, by the way, and having what seemed to be an early midlife crisis). However, Rob spent most of the book not WANTING to change. He was a jerk to pretty much everybody pretty much the whole time, and at the end of the day he still pretty much gets what he wants. And while the man talks a great deal about changes, and about re-ordered priorities, the last sixty or so pages don't seem to suggest that he really truly ever does.

Now, it is VERY likely the cast that I am just the wrong audience for this particular book. There wasn't really a character I liked or related to (except maybe for Dick and Anna). The majority of the film and music analogies the book pulled were lost on me, as I figured they probably would be. I was totally the kind of guy that the guys in this book would have ripped to shreds as soon as I'd walked out of their shop. In fact, it kind of felt like that's exactly what they were doing the entire time I was reading the book.

Hornby is a good writer, I can tell that. I liked his dialogue and his descriptions (the ones that didn't start with "She looked like particular actress from particular eighties movie", at least) and his narrative voice. And he told this particular story well. I just hated the story and everybody in it. So no hard feelings, Nick (as though you'd possibly be upset that some random book blogger didn't like your novel). I'll see you at A Long Way Down.

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