This is the first book I’ve read for the Summer 2014 Reading Challenge with Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life. I read it for the category “Read a book that will be/was adapted into a film in 2014”, which is worth 20 points.
On New Year’s Eve, four depressed people – namely Martin, a disgraced TV presenter, Maureen, a middle-aged single mother who has devoted her entire life to her disabled son, Jess, a foul-mouthed teen and JJ, an American wannabe rock star whose girlfriend recently dumped him – make their way to the top of a tower block with the intention of jumping off. None of them expected the others to be there, and nobody wants to be the first to jump (teenager Jess comes closest, although her main reason for wanting to jump seems to be boredom). Instead of killing themselves, the four of them agree to come down and help Jess find her “ex-boyfriend” (actually a one-night stand) who she believes owes her an explanation, deciding killing themselves is something that can be done any time. Later, they make a pact to carry on living until Valentine’s Day, when they will meet up again and see if any of the group still wants to die. And thus begins the story of an unlikely support group…
I thought the idea of this book was good, but to be honest I found the story itself a little odd. Of the characters, Maureen was the one I felt most sorry for. Martin seemed to bring most of his troubles on himself, Jess was obviously troubled and I wanted to feel sympathy but she just irritated me too much, and as for JJ… I wanted to give him a shake and tell him to grow up! So your little band has split up and you’re probably never going to be famous? And that’s a reason to want to kill yourself? Get. A. Life! On the other hand, the book was well written and humerous (if sometimes a bit far fetched), with the injection of a few thought-provoking parts. I also thought Hornby did a good job of getting the individual characters’ voices right. It wasn’t the kind of book that I would stay up all night to read and I doubt much of it will stick in my memory, but it was an enjoyable read at the time, and perfect for my commute. Overall, I would give it three out of five stars…. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either.