I really like Nick Hornby. I've read several of his books and I was excited to see he'd written a new book. I didn't even read the summary or know what it was about when I started reading it.
I was maybe about halfway through and I was just annoyed at the characters. Granted it kept me interested enough to keep reading, but the way the characters related (or didn't) to each other just irritated me. There were moments when I'd think "Are you stupid or something? I wouldn't put up with that!" I'm sure this was part of the story because basically the characters all in some way were stuck.
The basic concept is Duncan is obsessed with Tucker Crowe, this obscure artist who became a recluse after an "incident' or so he thinks in a bar bathroom. Over the next 20 years, he becomes a "Croweologists" on Tucker Crowe's music and knows the ins and outs of all his music while interacting on a message board with other Crowe obsessed fans. His relationship with Annie is not really defined, but in short, they're stuck and are more friends than lovers. As Duncan says at one point in the book, Tucker Crowe is like their child, because that's all Duncan ever talks and thinks about. There's not much room for Annie.
Tucker's life and Duncan and Annie's life do parallel each other, however I felt like the story wasn't more developed. Something was missing or lacking in the plot. I was hoping to get more involved in really the relationship between Annie and Duncan, but it didn't quite happen. In addition, the ending felt very abrupt. It needed more development.
Granted it gets you to think about life and maybe things you regret. Maybe how at a certain age you wanted to achieve certain goals and when the time comes, maybe you haven't. So then what? What do you do? Try to still reach them, or just move on? At least that's what this story was really about in my eyes.
Not my favorite Hornby book, but I'm glad I at least read it.
Juliet, Naked was well written, concise, and introspective. However, I never felt 100% invested.
As the reader, I got soooo frusterated with all the characters because they were so complacent with their awful lives. They spend the entire book thinking about how bored they are and how they have wasted their lives, but no one does anything about it. The more they worried about wasting their lives and still stayed in the same terrible situations, I got more and more angry. This was how I felt about Annie and Tucker, but Duncan was a whole other story. Duncan was a wretched human being, and every time the narrative switched to his perspective I cringed. I have had this happen with book characters before (when you are in someone's head with NO filter, it is to be expected), but Duncan could be one of the most cringe-worthy.
When I knew I was getting close to the end, I couldn't believe that Hornby was going to wrap up this story satifactorily, and in some ways I was right. I actually didn't hate the end of the book and what ended up happening with the main characters, but there was an added-on tidbit at the end that didn't jive with what he spent the entire book setting up. I wish it had never been included. It made me re-think the entire purpose of the book (in a negative way).
Even after all that, however, I still liked the book overall. I never put it down, I never wanted to give up, and in the end I wanted to see where it ended. I enjoy the way Hornby writes, and I actually liked Tucker as a character. He was completely flawed and unlikable in many ways, but loveable in others. He was completely honest with himself (and therefore the readers) about his despicableness which somehow almost made it more forgiveable.