I received this book free from First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
Published by Riverhead on February 3rd 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: First to Read Program
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From the bestselling author of High Fidelity, About a Boy, and A Long Way Down comes a highly anticipated new novel.
Set in 1960's London, Funny Girl is a lively account of the adventures of the intrepid young Sophie Straw as she navigates her transformation from provincial ingénue to television starlet amid a constellation of delightful characters. Insightful and humorous, Nick Hornby's latest does what he does best: endears us to a cast of characters who are funny if flawed, and forces us to examine ourselves in the process.
Barbara, a newly crowned beauty queen, leaves her hometown of Blackpool for London, where she hopes to become the next Lucille Ball. She rebrands herself as Sophie Straw – only to be cast as “Barbara from Blackpool” on a new BBC sitcom. Her new show is met with wide appeal for being the first comedy to shed light on more realistic wedded bliss.
“She didn’t want to be a queen at all. She just wanted to go on television and make people laugh.”
Readers of classic Nick Hornby novels, like High Fidelity and About a Boy, will likely have high expectations when approaching this book, as I did. Funny Girl has several very hard acts to follow and with the precedent of such charming, complex characters, this novel simply did not measure up. Barbara/Sophie has the same funny yet flawed characterization common among Hornby’s creations, but instead of coming off as relatable or interesting, she’s more brash and seems to desperately seek attention – like the annoying girl you try to avoid at a party.
Funny Girl has in no way deterred me from (eagerly) getting my hands on Hornby’s next book. I am still hopeful to find a glimmer of those all-too-human characters I fell in love with a decade ago that propelled Hornby on my list of favorite authors.