Friday, November 6, 2009
Flush It Down...
I have long been a fan of Nick Hornby's work, although I came to it in a rather unconventional way. I would guess that many of you are in the same boat: You have seen the movies based on his writings.
High Fidelity starring John Cusack and Jack Black.
About a Boy starring Hugh Grant and Toni Collete.
Fever Pitch staring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy "Yeah I sure as heck am replacing Conan O Brien" Fallon.
Starting to sound a little familiar now? I'd bet that all of you love Mr. Hornby's work as much as I do, don't you?
The truth is that I watch more movies than I read books. Nobody reads anymore, and those that do lie about it. Netflix, Hulu, and Redbox make it too easy to watch.
And boy do we like to WATCH!
My problem is that I like the outdoors, and every so often I get just a tad out of WiFi range.
What's a boy to do?
Subscribe to old-fashioned media, of course!
My first encounter with Nick Hornby was with About A Boy. Not the book, but the movie. I was crushing hard on a single mom at the time, and the story of a soul-less, shallow chap finding meaning in his life via a single mother and her masculinity-starved son really resonated with me.
So thank you Weitz Brothers. One movie forgave you for American Pie (and consequently forgave Hugh Grant for whatever the hell Hugh Grant did with that woman who was nearly as hot as his girlfriend Liz Hurley).
I had heard that the book as so often the case is, was much better than the movie, so I decided to give it a go.
And it was.
The Phoenix public library fined me for the entire cost of the book, because I kept it much longer than I should have. Well, that and the fact that I allowed it to become "Roont" (as Stephen King might say) in a Monsoon-storm. But the read was worth it, and helped me to realize that life is not as scripted as we as we all try to make it. As we age, the people who come into our lives are often not as unblemished as we would like them to be. If Hornby understands one thing, it's that men often have the minds of adolescents, and overcoming that obstacle is often the path to true manliness.
So Hornby, to me was an author who was smart without being pretentious (eg: Michael Chabon).
When I checked out "A Long Way Down" several weeks ago, I had high hopes. As all of his previous work did, the way that "Boy" dealt with my hesitation toward fatherhood, and "Fever Pitch" guided me through my interest in the World Cup and love for Baseball, I came to A Long Way Down when thoughts of suicide consumed my brain.
Hornby, in a way, seemed to have a magnifying glass to my heart the way that no other author could.
And given the mother in About a Boy (played daftly by Toni Colette in the film), I believed that Hornby, as a creative personality must have more than a little insight into the subject.
So why, dear reader, did this book suck as much as it did?