Funny girl



Nick Hornby is my favourite British contemporary author. His novel High Fidelity is my favourite book. So it follows that a newly published work of fiction by the great man is a cause for much excitement from me. I’m happy to say that Funny Girl did not disappoint.

I positively tore through this book. I tried to hold back, savour it, delay the pleasure and all that but the story was too good and the characters too warm to leave them lying around waiting on my bedside table.

Funny Girl is set in the swinging 1960s. It’s about popular culture, work, sex,  fame, the class system, friendship and partnership. If I had to rank it among his other fiction I’d put it at number four between How To Be Good and A Long Way Down.

This is the story of a popular television comedy show for the BBC,its writers and actors. Some happy with their lot, others believing they’re destined for greatness. Our Funny Girl starts off as Barbara Parker who wins Miss Blackpool 1964 but tosses the tiara aside in favour of London’s bright lights and following in the footsteps of her idol, Lucille Ball. After a chance meeting and a lucky break beautiful Barbara soon becomes sexy Sophie Straw and is the star of everyone’s best-loved show.

But as we all know nothing can stay good forever and eventually the trials of real life get in the way. This is a really good story, the characters are so well fleshed out that they feel like friends by the end of it. As usual his writing, particularly the dialogue, is witty, superb, touching and real.

Very highly recommended.


Notes on the author – Nick Hornby:

  • Lives in Highbury, North London
  • The author of six novels including About A Boy and High Fidelity. He also wrote the highly-acclaimed non-fiction Fever Pitch. Several of his books have been adapted for TV and cinema
  • His screenplay for the film An Education was nominated for an Oscar

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