In which we discussed how to irk the roommate, those bothersome boy-men, and a laugh out-loud memoir.
‘Nick Hornby is a 40-year-old 15-year-old.’ These were the first words spoken to the roommate upon finishing Hornby’s Fever Pitch. Not that the roommate cared one lick; his expression, not exactly the embodiment of mutual interest. What modicum of curiosity that initially existed, I’m sure were burned like calories while he cleaned, vacuumed, yard-worked, dusted, swept, mopped...the house-cleaning usually split evenly between the roomies. But not while Nick read Fever Pitch. Instead, while one roomie toiled the other teared up with laughter.
But back to Hornby. This observation, about Hornby’s books somehow expressing a sort of stunted male emotional maturity, isn’t the first. Most of his books are about men who are essentially boys. In fact Hornby once quipped about High Fidelity, “Here’s another boy-man who can’t commit to anything beyond his record collection”. Others have called his “male confessionals” about self-centered egoists. To that I would add they’re likeable egoists; egoists who have the ability to cause the reader to feel better about their own egoist tendencies, but egoists all the same.
Fever Pitch was a thoroughly engaging read, much to the chagrin of the dust bustin’ roommate. Hornby’s memoir deals primarily with his love affair with the Arsenal football (soccer to us Yanks) team of North London. It’s fluent and lucid, meaning that while the writing isn’t too sparse, it’s also of an everyman style that lends itself to the memoir, allowing the reader to clearly ascertain the author’s thoughts and motives. Also, this novel is FUNNY. Laugh out loud funny (again, much to the chagrin of the roommate). Because this memoir is told through the lens of an unhealthy obsession with a sports team, some of the requisite adolescent angst, the peer pressure, the acne, the gee-golly-Jane-would-you-like-to-dance moments are used sparingly. Instead, you’ll find poignant passages about identity. About class conflicts. About using a football team as a metaphor for one’s life. But trust me; the humor is the eye-catcher here.