Friday 16 January 2015

Review: Us by David Nicholls

Douglas understands his wife's need to rediscover herself now that their son is leaving home. He just thought they'd be doing their rediscovering together. So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he decides to make their last family holiday the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son and make Connie fall in love with him again. The hotels are booked, the tickets purchased, the itinerary planned and printed. What could possibly go wrong..? 

Review: I'd been dying to read this book for ages and so I don't know why I put it off for so long, it went onto my bedside table after reading the first few pages on the way home from Waterstones, so in the end I popped the hardback on my shelf and started listening to the audiobook, I'm glad that I did. This is a fairly stressful novel but wholly realistic and written well enough that you get to feel every feel that Douglas feels (hence the stress of it all). There is the stress of a marriage in danger, the stress of a stroppy teenage son and the stress of trying to arrange a trip around Europe for a family of 3 who all have different interests, and that's just the start!

I wouldn't say I found any of the characters in this book particularly likable. I knew that I would find Connie annoying if she existed in real life, and their son too. He has on particularly redeeming moment towards the end of the book where i gained a little more respect for him, Douglas I found myself rooting for, but I wouldn't say I particularly liked him, i felt that some of his choices were pretty pout there and not the direction I had gone in myself, but by the end of the novel I found myself sympathising with him a lot more. He gets the ending I wanted and so i really liked that aspect of the books.

Of course, because this book features a European tour, we have some great descriptions of Italy and Spain, but also of the never ending journey to get there, of delicious sounding food, but also of the cramped hotel rooms and ill-advised outings that this family ends up taking. This means as well though, that there are some really funny moments in the book, one in particular when Douglas finds himself in the red light district of Amsterdam. This was also a turning point in the novel and definitely a high-point for me!

Overall I enjoyed the novel. i didn't enjoy It as much as this author's other novels but it was still  good read and something that i will be recommending to people based on the humour and the realistic nature of the characters. i think this book would appeal to a wide range of audiences because of the fact that it features a family and not just one character on their own, a grand tour and some more poignant moments too. I was highly satisfied with the ending, and although this isn't a particularly fast read, the steady pace of this novel reflects the journey that Douglas Peterson goes on throughout it's pages.

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