Monday, May 29, 2006

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

Author: Nick Hornby
ISBN # 0140287027
Publisher: Penguin
1st Published: 2005
257 pages

'Can I explain why I wanted to jump off the top of a tower block?' For disgraced TV presenter Martin Sharp the answer's pretty simple: he has, in his own words, pissed his life away'. And on New Year's Eve, he's going to end it all. But not, as it happens, alone. Because first single-mum Maureen, then eighteen-year-old Jess and lastly American rock-god JJ turn up and crash Martin's private party. They've stolen his idea, but brought their own reasons. Yet it's hard to jump when you've got an audience queuing impatiently behind you. A few heated words and some slices of cold pizza later, and these four strangers are suddenly allies. But is their unlikely friendship a good enough reason to carry on living?

The whole idea of this novel intrigued me – what happens when several suicide-attempters manage to bungle each other’s plans? Rather than being depressing in any way, A Long Way Down turned out to be a very witty and humorous story of how people can often find the help and friendship they need in the most unlikely of places. The hideously mismatched characters somehow form themselves into the perfect support group, covering everyone’s needs and using everyone’s strengths and weaknesses to great effect. The result is something well worth picking up!

Rating: 7


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