Thursday, April 10, 2008

Long Way Down

So i've just finished one of the best books i've had the pleasure of reading in a long time - " Long Way Down " by Nick Hornby ( an no, SvD, the title does not refer to The Goo Goo Dolls song of the same name ). If you have never read Nick Hornby ( Do you know the films " High Fidelity " " Fever Pitch " or " About a Boy " ? Adaptations of his novels ), you are totally missing out. The man is a genius. He's able to write with such wit and humour that, at times, i really am laughing out loud; yet he manages to instill such emotional sincerity into his writing that i just want to dive right in and actually know the characters, be with them, BE them.

In the case of " Long Way Down " i actually WAS them, at least for a while. And maybe not on the same scale. See, " Long Way Down " is basically about four suicidal people who meet on a roof top, on New Years Eve, right before they had planned on throwing themselves off. Before ending it all. Before pulling the plug. But instead of offing themselves they end up having an awkward conversation and the rest of the book is about how they find some of themselves by having found each other. Its funny, and sad, and uplifting, and depressing and, for me, entirely relatable. So i never actually made it up to the top floor of a building, or found myself sitting in the bath with a razor within reach, or even curled up in bed with a bottle of pills on the bedside table .... but i thought about it. A lot. All of the time. So, reading the book, which is written from the four main characters points of view, in turn, i could read what each was saying and go " yep, totally been there " ; " yep, completely understand that "; " yep, that is so funny, i used to think the same thing! ". It was like a wake up call - i USED to be like that. Things seem like shite sometimes now, but they arent as bad as they were. On pretty much every page, or at least once or twice a chapter, there was something that i would read that would make me feel... something. Whether good or bad. But the point is, it made me feel.

I would love for all of you to read it. You'd be doing yourself a favour - like i said, Nick Hornby is genius, and then you go and read " High Fidelity " and fall in love with Rob and his music obsession, and then you could watch the movie version which is the best film adaptation of a book i've seen. But for now, i'll just share with you three excerpts from " Long Way Down " that i held onto:

On the way the world works - " It's just life. One person bumps into another person, and that person wants something, or knows someone else who wants something, and, as a result, things happen. Or, to put it another way, if you dont go out, and never meet anyone, the nothing happens. How can it ? "
( How many people have tried telling me that ? )

On seeing someone actually jump from the roof while they ( the four main characters ) were trying to have a reunion meeting - " .... Firstly, he made us realise that we weren't capable of killing ourselves. And secondly, this information made us suicidal again "
( That one in particular applied to me.... )

One of the characters, during her first ever plane trip - " And you probably also know that when you look out of an aeroplane window and see the world shrink like that, you cant help but think about the whole of your life, from the beginning until where you are now, and everyone you've ever known. And you'll know that thinking about those things makes you feel grateful to God for providing them, and angry with Him for not helping you to understand them better, and so you end up in a terrible muddle.... I don't know how these jet-set people who have to fly once or twice a year cope, i really dont. "
( I'm not much on God, but its the sentiment i can relate to.....)


  1. Sorry Amy, those little excerpts don't really make me want to read it..

  2. Probably because those excerpts arent pertinent to you.... but i'm pretty sure if you read it, you'd find something that was.

    Besides, you liked " High Fidelity " didnt you?