Author: David Nicholls
Type of book: Grand tour of Europe, England, France, low countries, Germany, Venice, Tuscany, Barcelona, Madrid Spain, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, modern times, marriage, life after happily ever after, art and science, relationships, family, reminisces, perception
Year it was published: 2014
David Nicholls brings the wit and intelligence that graced his enormously popular New York Times bestseller, One Day, to a compellingly human, deftly funny new novel about what holds marriages and families together—and what happens, and what we learn about ourselves, when everything threatens to fall apart.
Douglas Petersen may be mild-mannered, but behind his reserve lies a sense of humor that, against all odds, seduces beautiful Connie into a second date . . . and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades after their relationship first blossomed in London, they live more or less happily in the suburbs with their moody seventeen year-old son, Albie. Then Connie tells him she thinks she wants a divorce.
The timing couldn’t be worse. Hoping to encourage her son’s artistic interests, Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world’s greatest works of art as a family, and she can’t bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead with the original plan is for the best anyway? Douglas is privately convinced that this landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage, and might even help him to bond with Albie.
Narrated from Douglas’s endearingly honest, slyly witty, and at times achingly optimistic point of view, Us is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves, and learning how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger. Us is a moving meditation on the demands of marriage and parenthood, the regrets of abandoning youth for middle age, and the intricate relationship between the heart and the head. And in David Nicholls’s gifted hands, Douglas’s odyssey brings Europe—from the streets of Amsterdam to the famed museums of Paris, from the cafés of Venice to the beaches of Barcelona—to vivid life just as he experiences a powerful awakening of his own. Will this summer be his last as a husband, or the moment when he turns his marriage, and maybe even his whole life, around?
The main characters include Doug, Albie and Connie. Doug is a true to life scientist who is very pragmatic, obsessed with WWII, uncultured around women and feels inferior when it comes to his own wife. Connie is the creative spirit who loves literature and art and in beginning she tires to get Doug to open up more, unsuccessfully. She is also restless and is unhappy with her marriage. Albie is their son and is an enigma and is more like Connie than Doug, which drives Doug crazy because he worries a lot about Albie's future.
Perception is different for everyone
The story is in first person narrative from Doug's point of view, and it takes place in modern times at the time when his wife tells him she wants to leave the marriage, and they are ready to begin the old fashioned Grand Tour of Europe. One of the things that will forever stay with me when it comes to this book, is how different the story would have been should the point of view have been that of their son or the wife, which is far more familiar and widely spread, instead of Doug's point of view. The story does tend to go back and forth, to the time Doug and Connie met to the time they married, met with misfortune, had a child, the struggles Doug and Albie (son) had, and so on. It can be a jarring read when the story jumps back and forth like that.
About David Nicholls
David Nicholls’s most recent novel, the New York Times bestseller One Day, has sold over 2 million copies and been translated into thirty-seven languages; he also wrote the screenplay for the 2010 film adaptation starring Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway. Trained as an actor before making the switch to writing, Nicholls’s previous novels include Starter for Ten (originally published in the U.S. as A Question of Attraction), adapted into a film starring James McAvoy, for which Nicholls also wrote the screenplay; and The Understudy. He continues to write for film and TV as well as writing novels and adapting them for the screen, and has twice been nominated for the BAFTA awards. He lives in London with his wife and two children.
There are definite parts that I liked when it came to this book such as the sentences that seem to reveal happily ever after life, how true to life it feels, and the relationships between husband and wife as well as that of opposites attract and whether or not they can last together, but what I didn't really enjoy is that I know the book is funny, yet I couldn't find myself understanding or laughing at the jokes, which I blame more for cultural differences rather than anything else. The writing style is quintessentially British and I found myself unable to relate to any of the characters, which is unfortunate. What I also liked is the tour around Europe and often wanted the author to spend more time on the atmosphere in various European cities, but its just me.
This is for TLC Book Tour
David’s Tour Stops
Monday, October 6th: The Daily Dosage
Tuesday, October 7th: nomadreader
Wednesday, October 8th: From L.A. to LA
Thursday, October 9th: Spiced Latte Reads
Monday, October 13th: BookNAround
Tuesday, October 14th: Bibliosue
Friday, October 17th: 5 Minutes For Books
Monday, October 20th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, October 21st: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, October 22nd: Vox Libris
Thursday, October 23rd: The Scarlet letter
Monday October 27th: Read. Write. Repeat.
Tuesday, October 28th: Lavish Bookshelf
Wednesday, October 29th: nightlyreading
Thursday, October 30th: Always With a Book
Monday, November 3rd: Alison’s Book Marks
Monday, November 3rd: Drey’s Library
Wednesday, November 5th: More Than Just Magic
Thursday, November 6th: Walking With Nora
Monday, November 10th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, November 12th: Literary Lindsey
Thursday, November 13th: Books and Bindings
Friday, November 14th: Every Free Chance Book Reviews
Saturday, November 15th: BoundbyWords
Sunday, November 16th: Giraffe Days
Monday, November 17th: Doing Dewey
Tuesday, November 18th: Bibliotica
Thursday, November 20th: The Book Binder’s Daughter
Friday, November 21st: Bookshelf Fantasies
Friday, November 21st: Book Loving Hippo
Friday, November 21st: Books in the Burbs
Monday, November 24th: I’d Rather Be At The Beach
Wednesday, November 26th: missris
TBD: …the bookworm…
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)