My thoughts on… David Nicholls’ ‘Us’

I really enjoy reading, especially during the evening. It’s an amazing way to unwind and relax after a busy day, and it’s brilliant how words on a page can leave you so absorbed in a whole other world, with characters created by the imagination. After handing in my final deadlines back in May, I was excited to be able to start reading again and instantly wanted to find a book that I actually wanted to read… as opposed to some book or journal article I’d had to scrawl through for my dissertation research.

I’m a sucker for romance novels. I just love them. Other genres are amazing to, but books based around romance are just so easy to read and aren’t too heavy when you want to read prior to going to bed. I’d heard about David Nicholls’ book ‘Us’ and thought it sounded really great, and a bit different from other romance novels I’ve read in the past; so I went out to buy it and began reading.

Now it took me far longer than normal to get through this book, but not because I didn’t enjoy it! If I’d have had the time I would have sat and read it over a couple of days because I truly loved it…. But unfortunately full time work got in the way, so I had to deal with just reading whilst tucked up in bed at night (bliss)!

‘Us’ had a different structure to your standard linear novel. We all know how romance normally goes: boy meets girl, they get together, fall in love and either it works out or it doesn’t…… that’s pretty much the jist of them in a very haphazard roundabout way. This book however, takes a different stance on things and I think that’s what kept it so interesting. To sum things up, the book is about a man trying to win back his wife- who has said she’s thinking of leaving him - during a family holiday around Europe with their son. Instead of being divided up into normal chapters, the book is divided into sections based on their location around Europe (be is Venice, Amsterdam, Paris etc). Within each segment there are short exerts, but what I really like is that these exerts are a combination of the present day, and the past, all told from the protagonists’ point of view.

Not only is it moving and beautifully written, but its layout is ingenious. For example, when in Paris, our narrator talks about the adventures the three characters are currently having on their holiday alongside reminiscing the past time him and his wife walked down the same streets and visited the same places.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and found I could easily pick it up and put it down when I had time without getting lost/forgetting the story. It had a lovely combination of moments which made me feel many different emotions, and I’d definitely recommend giving it a read. I think the mark of a good book is its ability to make the reader feel and associate with the characters. For words to wreak emotions upon someone whose not physically in a situation is pretty damn incredible. I closed the book and popped it down on my side…. And since then, I haven’t know what book to turn to next.


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