Firstly, I need to give a massive thank you to the lovely folks over at Bookbridgr for sending me a copy of Us – First Edition, Hardback and Signed. Thank you for the Bookgasm.
Douglas can feel his entire world slipping away from him. His wife, Connie, has told him that she wants to separate from him. His son, who hates him, is going off to college soon and Douglas knows that he will be all alone.
With one last family holiday planned Douglas intends to change his wife’s mind and make her fall in love with him again AND win back the love of his son.
This journey of familial and self discovery traverses Europe and fifty four years of making questionable decisions. Will Douglas be able to win back the good feelings of his family?
I often start my reviews with how worried I was about reading the book and unfortunately I have to start this review the same way. Actually, I was more than worried. I was terrified. The reason being that a writer is only as successful as his/her last release and I loved David Nicholls’ last literary offering. I inhaled One Day up becoming an ignorant member of society and also my social group. I took the book everywhere I went, sneaking off for a quick read, ignoring friends on a day trip out to get through a few paragraphs. I was deeply invested in the lives of Dex and Em, Em and Dex.
When I heard about the new book by David Nicholls I was excited but that excitement was quickly taken over by fear. Would I love Us as much as One Day? Much like the many loves we have in our lives, they cannot be compared in a quantifiable way. All love is different. I loved One Day and I loved Us. No competition or drama. I just loved them both.
I shouldn’t have been nervous reading Us. I should have trusted that Nicholls is an author that I can depend on. With Us, he has not let me down.
The heart of the novel comes from the haplessness of Douglas. He can’t seem to connect with anyone or anything. His relationship with his son Albie is virtually non-existent; his wife wants a divorce and he is portrayed almost like a robot with feelings. You feel for him but equally you cringe at some of the blatantly idiotic things that he says and does.
Nicholls’ strength lies in making the normal seem entertaining. He doesn’t necessarily put his characters in stupid or frivolous situations to garner a giggle from his audience (although there are plenty of laughs to be had throughout this novel) it is in his understanding that the ordinary is often more compelling than a contrived (and in turn, transparent) situation.
Us is charming. There is no doubt about it. It takes you on a journey – not just the physical journey of the holiday that the family take but on a journey of discovery and realisation that life isn’t always going to live up to our expectations and that people will invariably let you down and that sometimes that very person is actually yourself.
I loved Us and I hope that everyone who reads it loved it too.
Us by David Nicholls is available now