A Long Way Down: Book Review

A Long Way Down book

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

Publisher/Year: Riverhead Trade/2005

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

Who’s going to be in the movie?
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, bitch!)
Imogen  Poots (Fright Night, Zac Efron’s love interest in That Awkward Moment)
Toni Collette (HostagesLittle Miss Sunshine)
Pierce Brosnan (Golden Eye Bond. James Bond)

When can I watch it?
March 21 if you’re in the UK, but there’s no release date for America yet.

What’s it about?
Four different people decide to jump off the top of Topper’s House, which is a popular destination in London for people looking to leap off a rooftop, on New Years Eve. When Martin (a publicly humiliated talk show host), Maureen (a lonely mother), Jess (a teenage nut job) and JJ (a failed, American rock star) run into each other on that rooftop, their suicidal plans get postponed. Altering from the four characters’ point of views, you learn more about their stories and watch the dysfunctional group dynamic develop throughout the book.

What do you think?
I really liked it. You might think that a story revolving around four suicidal characters couldn’t be funny, but you’d be wrong. A Long Way Down is really funny and I’m excited to see the movie. I think the casting is spot on, Martin is a bit a douche and I can see Pierce Brosnan pulling it off well. Toni Collette should be a good Maureen, who’s an older, quiet, reserved Catholic mother. I kept picturing Jennifer Lawrence as Jess (maybe because Jess reminded me of JLaw’s Academy Award winning role in Silver Linings Playbook, she was super crazy) and I don’t know anything about Imogen so we’ll have to wait and see how that goes. And Aaron Paul is perfect so he’ll be great as JJ.

The story is really character-driven rather than plot-driven which has its pros and cons. The characters are the best part of the book. They’re all believable (even if not always likable) and I loved seeing their development throughout the story. Because the four characters are so different from each other their interactions are always interesting and often hilarious.  But I wouldn’t call it a real page-turner. Not to say that it’s boring, I loved reading it, but I was never dying to find out what happened next. I cared about the characters but there was no urgency to see how everything turned out at the end.

But because I’m a stupid American some of the lingo and references were lost on me. I’ve heard British people refer to bathrooms as the toilets, but what does it mean when they say the bathrooms and the toilets? What’s the difference? Also what’s a pram? Or a natter? And they always talk about “taking the piss” (which based on context clues I take to mean “make fun of”) but they also say something can be a “piece of piss.” Are these “pisses” related in any way? Is a “piece of piss” the same as saying something is a “piece of cake”? So, if piss=cake, are you taking the cake when you’re “taking the piss”? I want cake. I also want to understand British people.

Should I read it?
Yes! It’s not too heavy even though it’s about some pretty heavy stuff. There some deep and hard hitting moments throughout the book but it’s still fun. You can buy a copy here or here.

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