Have you ever read a book and just kind of taken the characters in, as if they were people you knew? Their problems are your problems, you get high hopes for them, want things to turn out just fine for them….
This is how I felt while reading US by author David Nicholls. It is definitely a book to start on a weekend, because you won't want to put it down. Told in the first person by Douglas Petersen, it is the story of his life. A scientist by profession, he is a very cautious, measured, organized, conservative man who meets a wild, sloppy, beautiful artist named Connie and promptly falls head over heels in love.
They marry, it took her a month to decide to say yes, and have a child, a girl , who dies after only hours. They mourn together, Douglas takes her on a European holiday to bring her back to life.
They eventually have another child, a boy named Albie , affectionately called Egg. But as Egg grows up, the father -son relationship is not perfect, it is "estranged" really, with arguments and mis-understandings happening daily. The summer before Albie goes off to university, Douglas and Connie plan a European tour, a final family holiday to show Albie all the art museums in Venice, Rome, you name it. Douglas has scheduled out every minute of this vacation, as is his nature. What he didn't anticipate was the middle of the night announcement by Connie before they left..she thinks she wants to leave him.
So the family holiday takes on a new urgency..Douglas hopes to win back his son's love and respect and keep Connie from leaving him. Little did he know it would almost kill him.
Author Nicholls, is a master at the art of conversation. Douglas is so exquisitely developed that I can hear his voice as he talks to others and thinks to himself. I loved him, but I also pitied him his stiff emotions, his irrational fears, his constant worry. I wanted to kick his ass sometimes too, for the things that came out of his mouth.
What else can I say, I loved this book, one of the best I have read. I was so immediately pissed when it ended. I would love to hear how Douglas got on with his life..Mr. Nicholls? Any chance of that ? :)
Due out in September, run and get it.