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First Look: Just Like You by Nick Hornby

First Look: Just Like You by Nick Hornby

Just Like You is a brilliantly observed, tender, but also brutally funny new novel that gets to the heart of what it means to fall surprisingly and headlong in love with the best possible person—someone you didn't see coming.

Jean and Jowana share their thoughts on Nick Hornby's warm, wise, highly entertaining twenty-first century love story.


Opposites attract

Jean says: Lucy is a white, middle-class, divorced English teacher in her forties with two children, who’s clearly voting to remain in the EU. Joseph is twenty-two, black, works a number of odd jobs (DJ, babysitter, football coach, butcher, among others), and honestly couldn’t care less either way.

Jowana says: 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.

Political and personal

Jean says: They balance each other out in fundamental, if somewhat predictable ways—Lucy grounds Joseph and gives him a sense of purpose, and Joseph helps Lucy lighten up. Under the surface though, they both struggle to imagine a future when both their pasts and presents seem so incompatible. It’s a refreshing take on the ‘us against the world’ trope, using Brexit as a divide.

Jowana says: 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.

 

Verdict

Jean says: When Hornby is at his best (High Fidelity, About A Boy), characters and relationships are fully realized, and the whining and pining is enjoyable. Just Like You is a short, charming read that has some hints of that trademark style.

Jowana says: 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.

Jean has, at different points in her life, worked in government, interviewed international celebrities, and been the social media manager for several brands.
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Jowana has harnessed her powers working as a social media manager for almost a decade.
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[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our writers anyway.]



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