I didn’t know, not right from the start anyway, that Juliet, Naked would be about impossible / “can't live with or without” relationships in the context of a perpetual teenage mentality, where your favourite songwriter’s preferred.. I don’t know.. ice cream flavour matters, even though you're over 35.
Seriously. Really? Hornby does relationships and music? This is most unexpected!
The thing is, had I known, I would have most definitely went ahead and read the bloody book anyway and be super excited about it too, because:
a) there can never be enough books about relationships and music.
b) and who does that better than Hornby? That’s right. Nobody.
c) I lied. Of course I knew what the book was about all along! This is the author of Fever Pitch and come-on-change-my-life-do-it-again High Fidelity we're talking about. Obviously I couldn't resist a glimpse at the book description. Obviously. This is just another convenient catch-22isness!
And then there’s that other thing:
Juliet, Naked isn't completely a beentheredonethat business. High Fidelity is a story about getting it right, about the distinction between love and the excitement of someone new. About realising that the love of your life was right under your nose to begin with.
This book on the other hand, is a story about getting it wrong. Annie has got it totally wrong and she knows it. “Duncan”, she says, “you’re my easy life option. The moment you stop being that, you’re no option at all”. Duncan has also got it wrong, but he is a teenager trapped in the body of an adult, so it takes him a while to figure it out. And when he does, everything feels like a mistake; as if he is living someone else’s life that does not fit him. And Tucker? Tucker is a walking disaster. I will say no more.
Juliet, Naked is also full of those little things about everyday life that are so obvious, so true and so common, that you never stop and think about, but which now that you've read the book, are stuck in your head forever:
“They took a big pull of their drinks, and made appreciative lip-smacking sounds indicating (a) that they'd earned this drink and (b) they didn’t really know what to say to each other”.
Finally, Juliet, Naked is character-driven. If there’s one thing that Nick Hornby is capable of, it’s creating real flawed people with feelings and thoughts, like your own. Nobody is supercool and nobody is a complete wanker. Because what are the chances of this happening in real life, right? Right.
So thanks again Nick Hornby. Quite honestly, you move me.