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?