Sort of the same feeling that I got from 'A Long Way Down'. Great first half, then watering down a bit, floating between 3 and 4. I suppose it was less the case in this one, so I went for 4. As always with Nick Hornby the dialogue and characters are very lifelike and amusing and his observations spot on.
At some points the book drags a bit, and the inclusion of the faith healer fellow (or whatever kind of healer he is), is a bit alien in a Hornby book, but I just imagined him as the annoying hippie from Futurama, and all was well. Overall a nice Hornby read, which I didn't really expect, going into it with the low Goodreads rating in the back of my mind.
The book provides some interesting musings on what it is to "be good". Not in a complex religious or philosophical way, really, just Hornby-style, the thing i love most in his books: wittily observed, crystal clear, yet complex in its simplicity. I scratch my head and mutter: 'heh yeah, true', that's the feeling I get all the time with Hornby.
I reckon the biggest difference with other Hornby books is not that it's the only one written completely from a female perspective, but that it's damn depressing.
Yeah, sure, Hornby tends to take you on mental trips down misery lane, but at least he's there next to you, saying: 'Yeah, it all sucks, doesn't it? I've been there mate. It's alright, though, I'm here for you. Here, grab a beer, puff away on this joint. Life's a bitch, buddy, but check out this new record I bought.'
Not this time, though. This book is very bleak and offers very little hope. It's basically a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' kind of thing. But I guess that's a head scratching truth as well.
PS: I can't believe it took me like a month to finish this anorexic book. I really need to up my reading rhythm. I'm a slow, easily distracted reader, so I really need to be reading a lot (gymnastics for the mind) to maintain a decent book reading speed. Maybe it was because I grabbed this to cheer myself up, and that's why I couldn't read too much of it in one sitting, because in the cheer up department this book does not deliver. In fact, it just confirmed that being sad all the time is the only good option.
But an even more important fact is that the fact that I bought a laptop and can now access non-top internets with the stretch of an arm, which is seriously imposing on bedtime reading, where I do most of my reading. SO, I need to dedicate more time to reading and withstand the webs, unless I get severely constipated and have hours to read on the can. Go reading!