Rob Fleming feels like he's failed at life. It seems like the world agrees with him. His record store is barely making it, his mom pities him, his top five ex-girlfriends all replaced him with another guy, his girlfriend just moved in with another man, and their mutual friend Liz thinks he's an arsehole. This gets Rob thinking that maybe he's been going about this whole life thing the wrong way. Maybe always leaving his options open isn't all it's cracked up to be. Maybe love can't be based on another person's likes and dislikes. Maybe, just maybe, life is deeper than a record collection.
I've been wanting to read this book since I first saw the film adaptation, which doesn't quite make my list of top five films (1. The Princess Bride, 2. Gross Pointe Blank, 3. Breakfast at Tiffanys, 4. Dogma, 5. The Secret of Roan Inish). It definitely has John Cusack going for it, and he does make my list of top five actors (1. Audrey Hepburn, 2. John Cusack, 3. Morgan Freeman, 4. Natalie Portman, 5. Maggie Gyllenhall). So I read the book, which doesn't even come close to being a top five (1. A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce, 2. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, 3. A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert, 4. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery, 5. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley). While it had a ton of pop culture references, a sharp, biting humor, and very keen observations on life, it didn't live up to my expectations. Scratch that. The first half didn't live up to my expectations. The second half absolutely did. This novel certainly isn't high literature, but it is clever, well written and the social commentary is spot on. To sum it up, I'd have to say that Nick Hornby just might be the man's answer to chick lit.