Tuesday 23 June 2009

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Pages 245

First published in 1995, this copy published by Penguin in 2000

Challenges - 100+, A to Z Titles

Nick Hornby's name kept reaching out to me across the book blogging world as I know a lot of people are really big fans of his, so I had to satisfy my curiosity and pick one of his books up and read it.

High Fidelity attracted my attention, purely because of the title - taking me back to fond memories of hearing Doris singing it on Fame - the days of leg warmers and cassette players.

I picked it up, started reading it and could not put the book down. I absolutely loved every word of it.

This is the story of Rob Fleming a man drifting through his life and heading nowhere. He is in his 30's, he owns a little record shop that barely sells anything and his girlfriend has just walked out on him for the man who lives upstairs.

Rob and his two shop assistants, Barry and Dick, spend all their time making up top five lists of basically everything. After Laura leaves Rob, he makes a list of the top five breakups he has endured and goes about contacting all five of them to discover what went wrong with their relationships.

After meeting up with each ex girlfriend and the unfortunate death of' Laura's father, Laura and Rob do reunite and Rob learns from his fear of commitment and makes a promise to Laura.

Rob has just drifted all the way through his life, he ended up owning his shop after a breakup sent him down the wrong road of life. You just get the impression he just exists. His life has not moved forward since he left school. He is not married, has no children, lives in a rented apartment, still goes to gigs and still collects records. This book is definitely about him finally coming of age and doing what grownups do.

I know feel I have better insight as to what goes on in the male brain after reading this. It was just brilliant. Nick Hornby is very good at observing people in his life, he can discover their hidden quirks and turn them into hilarious actions.

As this book, is very listed based, I thought I would write a list of the five reasons why I like this book.

1) It is funny, the characters end up doing such daft things. You just can't help but giggle at their eccentricities.

2) The characters are well written. You will read about them and visually see these people existing in your life in different forms. Barry is played by Jack Black in the film version of the book, and I could see him fitting the part perfectly. He is loud, brash and full of crap!

3) The lists - I loved the lists about different things, such as best records after someone has died. Five best conversations after getting back with Laura is one of my favourites.

4) It took me back to the eighties, when I was just a teenager. I loved reading about the old record players and cassette players. I remember making up tape compositions of songs for friends to listen to.

5)The fact that it is a modern real life love story. This is how it really happens - no hearts and flowers, no swooning. Just real life relationships.

I am looking forward to my next adventure into Nick Hornby land. I have purchased About a Boy, which I hope to get to soon. Can anyone recommend any other good Nick Hornby books?


  1. Excellent review.

    I haven't read High Fidelity yet, although I have seen the movie. John Cusak is awesome.

    My first initiation with Hornby left me a little on the fence. I read How to Be Good years back. Then, as you said, it seemed like EVERYONE was reading and loving Horny in the book blogging world, so I thought I would give him another shot. A Long Way Down was brilliant! I adored it. It truly redeemed Hornby as a writer in my eyes.

    (BTW, did you change your user pic? Totally cute hair style!)

  2. I've never read any Nick Hornby but seen a couple of films - I looove High Fidelity the film, John Cusack... just something about him :) Might have to get this one out of the library.

  3. Nope - the tickets are for the Big Stamp & Scrapbooking Show http://www.expressrubberstamps.co.uk/thebigstampshow/ I already ordered my tickets for Alice in December :P going to see him at Hammersmith Apollo ;)

  4. Sounds like the book was really good - I'll have to add it to my list for sure. :)

  5. Still haven't read him but I do like the movies.
    Did he write Fever Pitch?
    If so then that might be a good one to read

  6. Ooh we go on the saturday too :D I go with dd1 and OH takes the other 2 off round the park and shops for the day so we can have a girly day together. Will def look out for you too ;) I'll be the one with the Alice Cooper tote! *g*

  7. I thought the movie version of this sounded good, but I never saw it. Now I really want to read the book.

  8. I want to see the movie too now. I love John Cusack.

  9. For a change, I think the film is as good as the book. John Cusack is perfectly cast imo.
    I read Hi FI after I'd seen the film so perhaps biased. Read About a Boy just before the film was released..better in print for me!

  10. Another great review! I've never read anything by this author before, but it sounds like a really good book.

  11. I do have a book by Nick Hornby (A Long Way Down) for many years, but for some strange reasons, I haven't get started on it.

    This is a great review, Viv!

  12. I also have not read Nick Hornby, but you have convinced me that I am missing a lot. Thanks.

  13. Excellent review. This sounds really good. I tried to get into the movie but it just didn't click with me. Maybe I was meant for the book.

  14. What a great review! Can you believe I've never heard of this book before? I haven't read anything by Nick Hornby - now I'm going to have to take a look at his books.

  15. I read this awhile back and quite liked it. I think I'd seen the film first though (there's something about John Cusack!)

    I prefer About a Boy though. The book, though I like the movie as well. I read How To Be Good and thought it was OK, same with Fever Pitch. I haven't been able to get into any of Hornby's latest books though..

  16. Great review. I need to read this one. Did you watch the movie version? It was good.

  17. Hooray, I'm so happy you loved it :D And another good Nick Hornby book? Why, EVERY Nick Hornby book is a good one :P Actually, I still haven't read them all, but I did read About a Boy and adored it.

  18. I absolutely adore this book and movie--one of my favorite things about both is the lists. The only only Hornby book I've read is A Long Way Down and I didn't like it as much. Hope to read About A Boy soon.


Hiya, thanks for stopping by, it is always nice to hear what you have to say, so do leave a comment if you have time.