27.1.16

BOOK REVIEW: Us By David Nicholls

Douglas Peterson understands his wife's need to 'rediscover herself' now that their son is leaving home.
He just thought that they'd be doing their rediscovering together.
So when Connie announces that she will be leaving too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again.
The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed.
What could possibly go wrong?

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 399

I finished this book a couple of days ago and I'm still not 100% sure as to what I think. Predictably, I loved One Day which is the only other book I've read by David Nicholls so I was very excited when Us was published. However, it has sat on my shelf for over a year as I was worried that it wouldn't live up to my expectations. Realistically I'm not sure if it did but I think this is mainly because I really disliked two of the main characters. Douglas Peterson is far from perfect as a character but I couldn't bear his wife Connie or son Albie. To the point that there were times when I had to stop reading this book as I was so wound up by them.
The idea behind the story was good; Douglas Peterson's son is about to leave home for university and it is at this point that his wife Connie decides to tell him that she may be leaving home once Albie has gone. Douglas is devastated; he could not love his wife more, she is his whole life and he can't imagine a future without her. He decides to take them both on a family holiday across Europe. He wants it to be perfect, he wants to win his son's affections back and to convince Connie to stay. But what if it is all too late?
I really enjoyed the travel aspect of the book and as with One Day, I loved how observational David Nicholls is and the simply way in which he presents very big emotions and ideas. But Albie and Connie consistently annoyed me; I know that you don't have to like every character but I just wanted Douglas to give up trying to win them over and go and find someone else.
The ending of the story just about salvaged the book for me but I was left feeling like I had been made to sit in a room with people I didn't like for too long.
So there you go, I'm not sure if I enjoyed this book, maybe that was the author's intention all along? If you've read it then let me know what you think!

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