Sadly I'm not one of the "cool kids"

High Fidelity - Nick Hornby

Opening line: My desert -island, all time, top five most memorable split-ups, in chronological order:”


This is one of those modern classics on everyone’s “to read” list and while it wasn’t my first Nick Hornby book it is the one that everyone talks about so of course I went in expecting to be awed. I guess I should mention that I haven’t seen the movie (what! I know) so I knew nothing about the storyline, not that that would have influenced me I just went into this blind.


And, well I wish I could say I loved this (since that would make me one of the cool kids) but honestly the best I can come up with is under whelmed. Of course the writing is wonderful and it really is laugh-out-loud funny in places but I also found myself alternating between skim reading because the story wasn’t going anywhere and all the 80’s pop music references and top 5 lists got to be a bit much and being in absolute awe. Rereading and marking numerous passages because they were just genius, describing exactly how I felt/feel. I should also mention that the music references are somewhat dated now and anyone under the age of 40 will be scratching their heads especially if you live in America as this involves British Indie bands and pop music.



I think one of the main problems for me is that our protagonist Rob isn’t a very likable character. It was hard to have any sort of compassion for him or for that matter to even want to read about him and I actually found myself preferring any of the sections that placed him with other people because when we were alone in his head being all introspective I got bored. Rob is immature, selfish, self-absorbed and depressed, stuck in a job, apartment and relationship that have all gone stale. He has zero self confidence yet at the same time is so full of himself that he expects everything to revolve around him, which of course it doesn’t and this in turn makes him lash out at his friends, parents and girlfriend to feel better about the state of his life.



Rob is a bit of a loser; a thirty-something music junkie he spends his days running a near failing record shop and reminiscing about the 80’s when he was semi successful DJ. Rob’s life has stalled and he can’t see a way out so he compiles top 5 lists of his favourite bands, songs, episodes of Cheers etc, insults his equally lost friends and plots ways to kill the guy who lives in the flat upstairs and stole his girlfriend. Along the way Rob manages to grow up, (some) and realizes change might not be so horrible. Cheers