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Book Review: David Nicholls 'Us'

From David Nicholls, the bestselling author of One Day, comes a wonderfully written book about one man’s journey to save his marriage…

Douglas and Connie were a wonderful example of ‘opposites attract’ when they first met each other. He was a scientist and she a budding artist. Fast forward to the present, and they have managed a twenty year marriage and have one teenage son, Albie, who is about to leave the nest to go to university. Douglas has therefore taken it upon himself to book the holiday of a lifetime, a journey around Europe, seeing as this will most likely be the last holiday they all spend together as a family. However, the night before their trip, Connie drops the bombshell that she has had enough and wants to end their marriage. Added to this, Douglas feels he has lost any chance of a relationship with his son. Determined to keep his family together Douglas presses ahead with the holiday and what follows is an emotional voyage and a stark realisation of how different both he and Connie are as parents, and indeed as people.

Us is narrated all from Douglas’s point of view and the result is a stark portrayal of marriage, middle-age and parenthood. Douglas is a wonderfully drawn character who despite his yearning for comfort, routine and practicality, is someone you find yourself liking from the beginning as he makes no attempts to hide his struggles to connect with the two most important people in his life; his wife and son. As the story reaches its climax, it encourages you to think about the people we meet and fall in love with and the changes that we are prepared to undergo in order to mould ourselves to their preferences. This is one of those books which will have you laughing out loud one minute whilst reaching for the tissues the next. A beautifully written story, grounded in reality, which once you start, you will simply have to finish in one go…

Written by Clair Chaytors

 

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