Thursday, May 26, 2005

Book Review: High Fidelity

High Fidelity was one of my favorite movies so I promised myself one day I would read the book. I finally got around to doing that this past week and found myself enjoying the book as much as the movie. Nic Hornby's High Fidelity, is different from the movie in that it is set in England and Rob, the narrator, appears not to be quite as angry and outspoken as John Cusak portrayed him. He's profoundly addicted to music, making lists, reminiscing about the women of his past, and Laura, the woman of his present that he just can't seem to make up his mind about. However, Laura's made up her mind about Rob and leaves him until he figures out how to grow up. Rob doesn't want to grow up because he likes his life of little responsiblity and even better, no real emotions. Rob's not grown up enough to admit that last bit, but throughout the book he realizes how shallow his life is by not opening up beyond sputtering out his pop music intellect.
With my own love for music and pop culture, I found myself realting to many things Rob says. I have my own lists -- Top 3 bands, Gary Numan, The Wedding Present and Nick Cave. Top 3 Marvel Hereos -- The Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange and Daredevil. And, believe me I could go on. Nic Hornby does an excellent job having Rob recount moments and feelings in his life that I could swear I have also lived. Rob's many myths of romance, including married life being spent with a woman in lingerie, eloquently expressing her love, are the myths most of us men would like to believe, but eventually learn the truth.
Nic Hornby manages to pull the ending of the book together perfectly, as Rob comes to terms with his romantic fantasies as exactly that, fantasies. The ending of the book is more subtle than the movie but just as effective. Rob figures out there's more to people than the sum of their music collection and a lasting relationship is worth the risk of hurt and loss. I've got a few more Hornby books on my shelf so expect some more of these.


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