Monday, 24 October 2016

Review : US by David Nicholls

Published by : Hodder
7 May 2015
Copy : Paperback - Reviewer purchased

The Blurb

Douglas Petersen understands his wife's need to 'rediscover herself' now that their son is leaving home.

He just thought they'd be doing their rediscovering together.

So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again.

The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Very Pink Notebook Review

Dare I say, I was not a huge fan of One Day by David Nicholls, so I wasn't sure how I would get on with this novel, but I am glad to say it was very enjoyable.  I laughed out loud frequently at the directness with which the story was delivered by main character, Douglas, sensible scientist. 

Douglas speaks directly to the reader, giving us his version of his life, in what I assume is meant to be an effort at dissecting it for himself, to see where it all went 'wrong' after his wife tells him she thinks she is going to leave him.  I found Douglas a very likeable character and could often see his point of view.  I can't say I found Connie, his wife or Albie, his teenage son as endearing, but then again we were only told the story from the side of Douglas.  Even so, on occasion Douglas freely admits he can, with hindsight see mistakes he made, particularly with regard to his reaction to things during Albie's younger years, so he does indicate that perhaps Connie and Albie did put up with some trying behaviour.

As the family travels around Europe on a Grand Tour of the Art Galleries, the scenes and situations they find themselves in are equally amusing and frustrating.  Douglas has gone to great lengths to try and make the trip perfect, which of course is just a recipe for disaster, especially as he does seem to have issues with control.  Eventually of course he realises he can not control everything, especially when the people he wants to conform are artistic and ever so more free-spirited than he, but is it just too late?

I found the book very easy reading and really enjoyed the short, sharp, snappy chapters.  I also thought the degree of 'then' and 'now' was spot on.  Finding out about how Douglas and Connie had come to be a couple and the history they shared helped pixelate just how they had reached breaking point in their marriage. 

My only negative comment would be sometimes I found a little too much time was spent depicting artwork in the galleries, I felt it a little unnecessary and it didn't add anything to moving the plot along.  Having said that, I thought the descriptiveness of the countries as they were travelled through was wonderful.

I really was unsure as to where the ending would go but I think Nicholls got it bang on and the very last sentence did leave me smiling.

US by David Nicholls receives a Very Pink Notebook rating of :


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