The marketers of this book did a fantastic job with this book, as I saw it absolutely everywhere. Also, they made the hard cover available at half price in every shop as well as on-line so I could not resist picking it up. It was longlisted for The Man Booker Prize for this year, which made me hopeful that it would be a refreshing read, with something really special to make it stand out from the other thousand of books published.
Douglas Peterson is awoken in the middle of the night by his wife Connie to received some disheartening news: when their son heads out of the house to start his university life so will she. Caught completely unaware he believes he still has one more chance to prove himself to her and his son during their Grand Tour of Europe they’ve got planned. But nothing seems to be going right for him.
Alongside the present, we are frequently absorbed into his flashbacks of how he met his wife, their married life together and parenthood. These flashbacks really help us understand his current situation better, as at the beginning I was rather peeved at the way Connie decided to spring the news on him and I did not like her very much. As the novel moved on I became more sympathetic towards her.
If you like family dramas you will most likely enjoy this book. Thankfully not as wild as The House We Grew Up In, it creates a really realistic portrait of some marriage woes that find middle-aged couples after their children grow up and leave the nest. Although I flat out dislike the son, mostly because he falls into that young teenage rebel category which I fail to connect to on any level, I did enjoy the overall ride of the book. Sadly, I did not find that it rocked my world by any standard, or that it really touched upon some revolutionary themes.
Maybe this was because I struggled to connect with issues they were facing; I am a young adult not a middle-aged married woman. Although the book does a great job demonstrating HOW one may get to that position it lacked that integral link between my life and them to make it a stand out novel for me.
Verdict: Pick up if you enjoy a quick-read family drama about middle-aged adults. Pleasant read, but don’t expect to be blown away.
Have any of you read Nicholls’ other popular novel One Day? Would you recommend it or does it sound similar to this one?