A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. Riverhead, 2005.
A Long Way Down continues Hornby’s trend toward dark humor established in How to Be Good. New Year’s Eve is a popular suicide night at Topper’s House. The suicide plans of four people are foiled when they meet on the roof and the mood is broken. Maureen, Martin, Jess, and J.J. decide to continue meeting over the course of the next few months as a sort of support group. The only problem is they can barely stand each other. A middle-aged woman with a disabled son, a former TV host ruined by scandal, an out of control teenager, and an American rock star wannabe have little in common. The only thing that ties them is each one’s wish to end his or her life.
Along the way their are humorous moments and heartbreaking moments and the characters manage to learn a little from one another. In the end, A Long Way Down is about learning to live again no matter how large or small the setbacks you face, but Hornby isn’t preachy or sappy about it. He’s a master at creating touching and funny interactions and characters with which a reader can easily identify. Once again, I encourage you to pick up a Nick Hornby novel, any Nick Hornby novel. I’m confident you’ll enjoy it.
Reading challenge : Nick Hornby