Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

I really liked Nick Hornby's Long Way Down, so when I saw this on the new release shelf at the library, I picked it up. A story about a musician, a person obsessed with that musician, and that person's girlfriend. Being that I love music and know a bit about people being obsessed with music, I thought the story sounded interesting.

First there's Duncan, the fan who spends all his time obsessing over this musician, Tucker Crowe, and communicating with other obsessed fans on a message board. If you've ever visited an online forum for a band, you've seen these people. They analyze everything, each lyric and guitar chord. They know setlists and cities and dates and anything and everything that has to do with the musician. Duncan's girlfriend Annie has been with him for years. It's on a trip to America, while visiting Tucker Crowe-associated sites, that Annie begins to realize she's growing tired of Duncan and his obsession. She's beginning to think she wants more out of life. She's comfortable with Duncan, but she's longing for something more than simple comfort.

One day, while going through the mail, she opens a package for Duncan. It's a CD called Juliet, Naked. It's a stripped down version of Crowe's CD, Juliet. This version is simply demos and unfinished tracks. Much to Duncan's horror, she listens to the CD before he gets home.

After listening to the CD, Duncan posts a long review on his message board, claiming Juliet, Naked is the greatest thing he's ever heard. Annie, having listened to the CD before Duncan, posts a response saying that it's ridiculous and insulting to claim these unfinished tracks are better than the studio production. Clearly a lot of work went into the finished piece, and to claim the "naked" version is superior is to disregard all that work.

Much to Annie's surprise she receives a Private Message from someone agreeing with her response and claiming to be Tucker Crowe.

The story that follows is about Annie and Duncan splitting up and Annie's online flirtation with Tucker Crowe. Annie is trying to figure out what she wants in her life, as is Tucker Crowe.

I enjoyed this book. It's a funny story and the characters are likable and real. As with Hornby's other books, the story moves quickly.

I thought the ending was a little too sappy, but overall, I do recommend this book, especially to music fans.

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