I’ve been picking fairly sedate books lately in the hope of not raising my adrenaline levels too high. Weird, right? If my blood pressure reaches 100 or above I may be in danger of being carted off in an ambulance. Just kidding. I’ve just been advised to keep it relaxed for a bit and apparently Nick Hornby’s a good choice for that sort of thing. High Fidelity was named as one of the top 100 books of all time by Amazon. It was right smack bang at the tail end of the list at number 100, and seeing as how that’s my lucky blood-pressure number, I took it as a sign.
So, in case you don’t know, High Fidelity is told from the perspective of Rob, a thirty-something year old music junkie. He spends the majority of his time with his employees at the record store he owns. He and his employees are obsessed with making top-five lists. When we meet him he’s listing his top-five break-ups of all time and thinking about his most current break-up (with Laura), which didn’t even make the list. From here on we’re immersed in Rob’s life and with his battle to stay young at heart. Young heart, get it? I’m not even making this stuff up.
What I really liked about this book (other than the fact it kept my blood-pressure at a cool 60) was the way the reader was pleasantly guided through what appeared to be no more than a man wishing to remain young, but in fact reached much deeper. Not to my heart, luckily. It combined humour and wit with a strong protagonist and never took itself too seriously even though it explored essentially what it means to be human.
Throughout the book Rob struggles to identify whether he’s destined to be with Laura. As he gets closer to working this out he finds out who and what he really wants and helps the reader do the same.
Told with skill and light-heartedness- I'm obsessed with hearts in case you hadn't noticed- this book has more substance than it cares to admit.