Lucy, 42, a middle-aged white single mother and schoolteacher and Joseph, 22, a young black man balancing multiple part-time jobs met at the opposite ends of a butcher shop counter. The not-so-chance encounter sparked a surprising relationship none of them expected.
Just Like You, the latest from Nick Hornby, is a brilliant exploration of the possibilities and the difficulties of a couple from different backgrounds. Set in a chaotic political landscape, the contemporary love story is a delightful blend of humor and affection – that still finds opportunities to touch on his trademark topics of sports and music.
In 2016, Britain held a referendum asking its citizen to leave or remain with the European Union. The shocking result revealed 52% voted in favor of to rescind its membership, and in the process, change the socioeconomic and political landscape of an entire continent. The days leading to the referendum provides the backdrop of our story. Sidestepping the need to find parallels between the madness of politics and love is one of the best decisions of the author. Instead, he utilized Brexit to fleshed out the characters through their actions, reactions, and opinion. Their sources of information, their assessments on the issue, their processes on reaching their decision on the referendum – each is a reflection of their personalities and principles. Though he has been rather forthright of his political stance in real life, he refrained from making condescending and patronizing remarks, instead, fostered political nuance and understanding.
Each chapter probes the ideas of the characters on assorted topics including dating, marriage, and punctuations. This also illuminates their differences in age, race, social class, and personal experiences. The sharpness of the observations made throughout the book remains its strength – it is a fine balance of entertainment and reflection.
I, a political junkie, relished the commentaries on the prevailing zeitgeist. Others might see kindred spirits in the assortment of characters. There is indeed much to appreciate in this modern tale of falling in love with a person you least expected.