You might be familiar with the concept of chick flicks- Hollywood romantic comedies targeted towards the segment of society that paints its nails to match its clothing. You may even have heard of chick lit, which is basically the literary version of the same thing (but slightly more intellectual, because reading). Both of those things, to me, are good entertainment but not really works of art.
This is my review of High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. I’d seen this book recommended several times on Reddit as a light, amusing read and decided to give it a shot.
Our narrator is Rob Fleming, a thirty-something former DJ who now runs a record store. He and his colleagues (whom he doesn’t seem to like too much) spend most of their time making Top 5 lists, but they manage to scrape by. Rob’s just gone through a breakup, which prompts him to list his top 5 most painful breakups to stop himself from obsessing about the most recent one. Which is amusing, but doesn’t seem like a great idea…
Rob soon goes back to obsessing about his relationship, and the next-door neighbour that his ex seems to be shacking up with. And then about his unsuccessful career. And then about how his parents have a more lively social life than he does. And then about his commitment phobia. Spoiler alert: A lot of obsessing happens in this book.
He does have some pretty insightful views on life and relationships. This isn’t a romance per se- there are no confessions of love or weddings or epiphanies- but that’s what makes this book a 1000x more realistic than all the other fluff out there. ‘Cause everyone feels like a loser once in a while, and I doubt real life happy endings are accompanied by cheerful pop music.
Read this, if you want a light story with a good narrative style. Or if you want to read the male version of Princess Diaries– overthinking and self improvement plans everywhere! 3/5 from me.
PS: The answer to the question posed in the title is apparently “dick-lit”. The Internet is very, uh, educational.