Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review: High Fidelity

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
Pages: 323
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Genre: Fiction/British/Male
Series: None
Movie: Yes! High Fidelity with John Cusack <3
Bought At/Borrowed From: Maui Friends of the Library

Finished: August 28th, 2012
Reading Competition: Book 13, 3632

Review: I was very excited to read this book. Rosalie showed me the movie version with the absolutely gorgeous and wonderful John Cusack (I don't know if my generation likes John Cusack, but I am in love with him. Mostly because of Martian Child.) and I was therefore definitely going to read the book. I've seen other Nick Hornby movies, like About a Boy with Hugh Grant, which is pretty decent, and so I figured, why wouldn't I like his books? Nick Hornby seems like a cool guy.
     At first, this seemed to be true. Rob is a very cool guy. He likes lists, I like lists--check. He has good taste in music and talks about it a lot, I have my good taste in music and listen to it a lot--check. He has had some traumatizing break-ups, I have had a traumatizing break-up--check. He seems to be stuck in a rut, unsure what his next move is, I am stuck in a rut and unsure what my next move is (though I'm fresh out of college and he's in his thirties)--check. [Obviously, I think I'm pretty cool if I say Rob's cool and then compare him to myself a lot. However...] The point is, I related to him quite a bit. I dog-eared some pages about why we fail in love and other ponderings on life's greatest matters. We were kindred spirits, Rob and I. Then he went a bit crazy.
     After he and his girlfriend of so many years, I've forgotten already, break up in the beginning of the novel, Rob is trying to sort himself out, looking at his love life, his "career" as an owner of a failing record shop, his friends, etc. Then he goes through the five girls he lists as his five greatest break-ups to find out what he does wrong or why their relationship went sour and it's all a bit melodramatic. But at least the plot was moving along. Then, I swear, nothing happens for like 100 pages. [That's a rough estimate because it felt like 1000, but I couldn't say 1000 because there's only 323 pages in the book.] At least nothing that stands out to me. It just was a bunch of complaining. I started this book at the very beginning of August and it took me a whole damn month to read because it just dragged on and on and on.
     Finally, something happens in the last approximately 50 pages, but it's such a cop-out ending. I don't necessarily mean Nick Hornby copped out, but Rob did [looked up the definition of cop-out to make sure I was using it right and the definition fits perfectly--to choose not to do something out of fear of failing]. It does end with a small promise of a new beginning for Rob, a way out of the rut he's dug so deeply into his life, but in essence, he is exactly where he was at the beginning of the novel. Basically, nothing happens at all and he just goes a bit insane over a break up, stalks his ex-girlfriends, sleeps with people, visits his parents, complains, and then it's over.

     Even imagining the complaining in John Cusack's enchanting voice did nothing for me. And believe me, John Cusack's voice can cure quite a lot in my opinion.

     Ultimately, not a fan. And I still have one or two Nick Hornby books in my piles of books around my room/house/garage/kitchen/mom's room/etc, but they're probably going to get prioritized last at the moment. I just need a Nick Hornby break. I do want to see the movie again, however, to see if move-Rob is as whiny as his literary counterpart, but I'm not sure I want to get the two Robs swirled in my head. I don't want anything to spoil my John Cusack.

Memorable Line: "It seems to me if you place music (and books, probably, and films, and plays, and anything that makes you feel) at the center of your being, then you can't afford to sort out your love life, start to think of it as the finished product. You've got to pick at it, keep it alive and in turmoil, you've got to pick at it and unravel it until it all comes apart and you're compelled to start all over again. Maybe we all live life at too high a pitch, those of us who absorb emotional things all day, and as a consequence we can never feel merely content: we have to be unhappy, or ecstatically, head-over-heels happy, and those states are difficult to achieve within a stable, solid relationship." (169)

Rated: 4--I liked the beginning, the music, the lists, some of the life ponderings, the semi-interesting look into the male mind when it comes to females, but ultimately, I forgot everything that happened in the middle of the book already and I am ok with this.
Up Next: Fifth Avenue, 5 AM by Sam Wasson.