After devouring Hornby’s, The Polysyllabic Spree, I decided to try his fiction. I chose How To Be Good. You might be wondering why I didn’t choose High Fidelity or About a Boy. I will tell you why. I’ve seen the movies. The books are probably better and add much more to the characters than the movies, but I wanted a clean palate when I approached Hornby’s fiction. I wanted the unexpected.
I have to say that even with only about thirty pages left in the book I still don’t know what’s going to happen. This book has been thoroughly enjoyable and worth every minute I’ve spent reading. There’s nothing worse than a book that makes you feel like you’re wasting your time.
While reading I started thinking about a certain kind of book. The kind that starts out a little behind where you think it should be, but it takes you with it on the journey. The kind of books that only get better with each chapter.
This may sound off the wall, but in the beginning of How To Be Good, I felt like I was walking through a cave. It was difficult to know where I was headed and I really was kind of uncomfortable as I moved through it. Then as the characters began to evolve I felt my surrounding cave start to morph, allowing for more light. I know this sounds strange, but now, towards the end of the novel I’m on the other side of the cave relaxing in a sunlit meadow.
Does that make me sound corny? Pretentious? I don’t intend to be either. I’m trying to describe something we may all experience while reading. Surely you’ve encountered a book that gets better with each unfolding scene. Too many times I’ve never left the cave or made it to the meadow only to discover another cave in front of me. What a defeated feeling.
I can only hope Hornby allows me to enjoy the meadow through to the last page.