Saturday, November 22, 2014

If Lucille Ball Had a Novel of Her Younger Days...It Just May Be Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

Funny Girl: A Novel"The BBC is full of horse-racing and variety shows and pop groups who look and sound like cavemen. What will it look like in ten years' time? Fifty? You're already making jokes about lavatories and God knows what. How long before you people decide it's all right to show people taking a shit, so long as some hyena in the audience thinks it's hysterical?"

I've never read Nick Hornby before and had no idea what to expect from this novel. What even convinced me to read it was the fact that I'm a huge I Love Lucy fan and the idea of a young woman trying to be like Lucille Ball and make people laugh from the TV in the 60s really appealed to me.

I'm really glad I took a chance on this. It's incredibly funny. The humor, however, is at times really subtle and embedded in the dialogue. At other times, it's laugh-out-loud hilarious. I can think of two occasions as I read this when I laughed so hard that I had to read aloud, between tears of laughter, the words from this book that cracked me up so because my coworkers demanded to know what was so funny. And they laughed too.

And there's more going on here than just a girl trying to make it big in English television. There's romances among actors. The story makes me think that the actors get a bit confused and don't know when to draw the line between their fictional and their real characters. The desire to continue to please their audience, to continue to have an audience at all times, may often send them into their co-actor's arms. There's the touchy subject of homosexuality in the sixties' Britain. There are people trying to adjust to the changing times, to not be so "stuffy" anymore, to let go of the old and have fun with the new. There's the increasing divorce rate during this time period. I also appreciated the peek into what it was like to work behind the scenes of the BBC, the politics, the writing, all of it.

The variety of characters and the situations they are facing make for interesting reading. The book never gets dull. I also like this author's unique style. I think normally I would complain that I never got in Sophie's head, never felt like I was her, but in this book, it honestly worked. And though I never got "IN" her head, I understood her. Her character is honest and I liked reading her admit her own flaws, such as choosing her career over her ailing father's bedside. At least she's honest.

I imagine that if Lucy was portrayed in a novel of a young girl trying to make it in comedy, this would be it. Well done, Mr. Hornby. I could put this one down in the three days I read it. Great stuff.

I received this via Amazon Vine.

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