7:23 PM 7 AUGUST 2016
This was a random choice on my part, with which to fill the waiting times that accompany jury service. But, if I say so myself, an excellent choice, brimming with likable, if somewhat flawed characters, set in a wonderfully familiar 1960s onwards. Not since ‘Fever Pitch’ and the well thumbed pages describing West Ham’ s FA Cup triumph over Hornby’ s beloved Arsenal have I felt so warmly nostalgic and thankful to have been there.
This book follows the journey of fictional rising TV star Sophie Straw, but it is the clever background use of programmes such as ‘Till death us do part’ and ‘Steptoe and son’, which gave the novel depth and for this reader an added affinity with the central ‘cast’. The clothes, activities, people and cultural norms all seemed so gloriously yesteryear, sympathetically described by the author and diligently reflecting the seemingly dated expectations of the time. This is no retrospective critique, but rather a wonderful observation of the period with its sometimes bizarre conventions, seen through the eyes of a young northern woman drawn to London in search of a better future. I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and commend Nick Hornby for his deft handling of the relationships weaving together a very compelling read.