Book – Funny Girl
Author – Nick Hornby
Year – 2014
Pages – 354
Genre – Fiction
Lent to me by Tracy Ashdown
I can’t believe it has been two months since I last posted a blog. Which itself was after only a small flurry of reading. Lockdown was a strange time, and I found myself not being able to get into a book. I have two very worthwhile books that I am enjoying very much but just can’t get through. I am mid-way through a music project and we are trying to watch more films, and myriad other things that have held me up, but the main problem is that I am simply not really motivated to read. A trip to Bristol and a haul of twenty odd books has given me some impetus to try again however, and I picked up this book that a lovely lady I work with, Tracy, lent to me. I am a big fan of Nick Hornby and I am not quite sure how this one passed me by, but it certainly had. And it turned out it was exactly what I needed.
Barbara has just been crowned Miss Blackpool 1964. This means a year of opening shops and smiling for photoshoots. It is this that spurs her into buying a train ticket and heading for London to try and make her way as a comic actress. With gutsy confidence and a new name, she manages to force her way into a sitcom, and we see how she makes a name for herself along with her slimy costar, polite producer and clever writers.
I have enjoyed pretty much everything that Nick Hornby has written. I find his books so incredibly readable. The stakes are rarely incredibly high, but the characters are interesting and the subject matter is often fascinating – be it the music industry, skateboarding or football. And this may be the most readable of all.
Most great literature seems to thrive on having a certain level of jeopardy, but this is barely present here. It is a sign of Hornby’s quality as a writer that he is able to keep the narrative interesting and absorbing even without major hurdles. That is not to say that everything is plain sailing, but it was just so wonderfully refreshing to read something this light. I don’t think I have ever been in a rut in terms of reading that had such a specific solution to it, and I am really grateful to Funny Girl for being that book. It took me about twenty four hours to read, and I just found it so lovely and charming.
I have found myself going to recommend this book several times already this past week or so since I finished it. Every time, I want to caveat it by saying that I do not think it is the best book I have ever read. I just think it is one of the most suitable books I have ever read. Everything feels pretty stressful at the moment, so something this lovely is well worth a read.
9/10 (I can’t give it ten just for being at the right time, but I did really like this one)