JULIET, NAKED by Nick Hornby [Review]

Juliet Naked

Nick Hornby’s latest book, Juliet, Naked, is about the ultimate obsessive music nerd and the woman who loves him. Well, that is Annie thinks she loves Duncan until she starts taking a hard look at their lonely life together and realizes she may have wasted the past 15 years. The object of Duncan’s obsession is Tucker Crowe, a 1980s rocker who only released one album and then abruptly retired into obscurity after a trip to the bathroom in a Minneapolis bar. Duncan considers himself a “Crowologist” and runs a website dedicated to the musician. Annie feels as if there is a third person in their relationship and wishes Duncan could muster the same amount of passion for her. They live in the English seaside town of Gooleness, a fading, depressing place, which intensifies the feeling of despair running through the book.

Things start to get interesting when Crowe releases a stripped-down version of his original album called Juliet, Naked. In a rush to be the first to review it, Duncan lavishes praise upon the album and decides it’s even better than the original. Annoyed with Duncan, Annie writes a much more measured review and insists he post it on his site. Annie is surprised to receive an email from Tucker Crowe himself saying that he liked her review. Tucker has been living a quiet suburban life as a stay-at-home dad to his six-year-old son. Like Annie, Tucker feels like he has been wasting time and the two bond through their email correspondence.

I enjoyed Juliet, Naked because, like Nick Hornby’s other novels, it tackles serious subjects with humor and wit. Duncan, Annie, and Tucker all seemed like realistic characters complete with flaws and baggage. Hornby describes the fictional music of Tucker Crowe in great detail, though I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to actually hear his music to fully understand. Juliet, Naked is an enjoyable read but I’d probably rank it below my other favorites, About a Boy and A Long Way Down. If you haven’t read Nick Hornby before, you’re probably at least familiar with the movies based on his books like High Fidelity and About a Boy. I think if you like these movies you will also like his books, so give them a try.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Riverhead | Pages: 416 | Buy on Amazon

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