I finished reading Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby today and like the endings of most books, it came to quickly. Hornby has long been one of my favorite authors, but for some reason I don’t seek out his books, but rather they seem to seek me out. Before I read any of his books, I saw the movie High Fidelity. I liked the movie but thought nothing of the book. I rarely if ever read a book that I’ve seen the movie version of and in reverse, I rarely see a movie when I’ve already read the book. Of course like everything else in my life there are exceptions to that rule. Someone gave me a copy of High Fidelity so of course I read it. I also read About a Boy and saw the movie but only because someone gave me a copy of the movie after I read the book. There are of course other exceptions that don;t include Nick Hornby. There I read all the Harry Potter books and saw the movies and was equally impressed by both. I absolutely loved the book The Time Travelers Wife. I loved it so much that I wanted to see the movie, but five minutes in I knew it was a mistake and returned to my old ways of doing only one or the other, but I digress. People give me copies of Hornby’s work seemingly randomly. It’s kind of odd since I I have gotten few other books or movies. Frankly, I like to find my own. I found A Long Way Down on my own and in glancing through the Hornby books on Amazon, I see there are a lot more out there that I need to find. Juliet Naked, however found me.
Since I have little if any spare time, I barely read a book a month and I have a very long list of interesting titles I hope to one day read. I already have a dozen or so unread books on my shelf waiting for me to give them the attention they deserve, so I stopped buying new books, but I still love browsing through book stores. Whenever I am working at the Comedy Studio in Harvard Square, I make a point of arriving early so I have time to wander through the Harvard Bookstore (http://www.harvard.com/) next door. It’s wonderful store and although I appreciate the bargain book, I admire the independent store owners more and will usually buy my books here. So one night I was checking out the remainders and saw Juliet Naked. The cover was shiny black with two silhouettes created by a headphone cord. I picked it up and read the jacket but it didn’t strike me as a must read so I put it down.
A couple days later I was grabbing a cup of coffee on my lunch break and there was a copy of the Juliet Naked at the counter. A couple days after that I was heading into Barnes and Noble and there it was again on the discount rack at the door. I know the book jacket is flashy but why is this now everywhere? I didn’t think much of it until a week or so later when I again found myself in the Harvard Bookstore. Just minding my own business when someone asked the sales clerk if he had a copy of Juliet Naked. Good lord, that’s it. I grabbed a copy and began the read.
Like all of Hornby’s other books, I got right into the book. I didn’t need a few chapters to warm up to it, it had me with hello. The quirky characters and simple writing drew me in. A couple weeks later and the right side was thinner than the left, the book was coming to an end. I hate that feeling. Knowing that in another day or so, it would all be over. The story wraps up, the characters live happily ever after, or maybe not, but either way I’ll know. This ending however was even more disappointing, not because it ended, but because it wended so weakly. I was mad. How can this happen to such interesting people. They don’t live happily ever after or tragically meet their demise. A once super rock star and a now realized woman just go on with their lives. What?!?!?
As I’ve sat here pondering this entry and the disappointment in the book ending, I realize that it’s a great ending. It’s the way episodes in all of our lives end or don’t end. Life just keeps going on. Sure it could have ended with some magical fairy tale ending, but that’s not real. These people are just like all people. They came to a realization and moved forward. It wasn’t what either of them probably wanted, but it was what happened. It was an accurate portrayal of life. Sure I rooted for the romance, I wanted the rock star to find his voice and create something genius and I got neither. Now that I think about the endings of his other books, they all end the same way with life going on, not perfect, not even any greater than when the book started but with just another mix tape.
Every time I start a book I look forward to the magical endings, happy or tragic. I do that with most thing and with most things as wonderful as they might be, they just are what they are. So I finished a successful project, theres always another one to start. So I had a bad show, there will be another one tomorrow. Even as I reread this blog, I see how much hope I put into things. I even put a mystical spin on my finding Juliet Naked. Disappointed or not, the book is finished. Life just keeps going as it is. I’ll read another book and I’ll just write another blog. Maybe I’ll make a mix tape.