It’s blog tour day today! Join me on this stop for David Nicholls’ Us!Us by David Nicholls
Published by HarperCollins on October 28th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
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David Nicholls brings the wit and intelligence that graced his New York Times bestseller one day to a compellingly human, deftly humorous new novel about what holds marriages and families together — and what happens when everything threatens to fall apart.
Douglas Petersen may be mild mannered, but behind his reserve lies a sense of humor that, against all odds, seduces beautiful Connie into a second date . . . and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades after their relationship first blossomed in London, they live more or less happily in the suburbs with their moody seventeen-year-old son, Albie. Then Connie tells Douglas that she thinks she wants a divorce.
The timing couldn’t be worse. Hoping to encourage her son’s artistic interests, Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world’s greatest works of art as a family, and she can’t bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead with the original plan is for the best, anyway? Douglas is privately convinced that this landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage, and may even help him to bond with Albie.
Narrated from Douglas’s endearingly honest, slyly witty, and at times achingly optimistic point of view, Us is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves and learning how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger. Us is a moving meditation on the demands of marriage and parenthood and the intricate relationship between the heart and the head. And in David Nicholls’s gifted hands, Douglas’s odyssey brings Europe—from the streets of Amsterdam to the famed museums of Paris, from the cafés of Venice to the beaches of Barcelona—to vivid life just as he experiences a powerful awakening of his own. Will this summer be his last as a husband, or the moment when he turns his marriage, and maybe even his whole life, around?
Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Surprised one morning when his wife Connie says she thinks she wants a divorce, Douglas Preston isn’t quite sure what to do or where to go. How does a man whose life was set on a path, respond to such a declaration? And so we have Us, David Nicholls’ chronicling of a man’s attempt to save his marriage.
Us is told as a recounting of Douglas and Connie’s life in snippets from the past (their first meeting and first impressions, their eventual marriage, troubles and joys) to the present-day “Grand Tour” family vacation planned as a “last hurrah” before their seventeen-year-old son Albie goes to college – and the marriage dissolves.
The snippets are numbered and flip back and forth with no apparent pattern except as they relate to Douglas’ narrative, which I enjoyed quite a bit. He comes across as so real – a bit awkward, a bit shy, proud of his job and his family, focused on what he thinks is important, and so on… I’m a bit more ambivalent about Connie, but I did like Albie (yes, even when he was being a, well, teenager!). This family is dysfunctional, but then again most families are.
Nicholls’ lyrical storytelling takes us for quite a ride as we turn the pages, and while some of it isn’t fun to read (can any story where a relationship devolves be enjoyable?), you keep going on, hoping for the best. At the end of the day love wins, though Douglas’ happily-ever-after may be of a different kind than he’d imagined. Us is best paired with a few lazy hours and a cup of tea on a chilly fall afternoon…
drey’s rating: Excellent!
Have you read Us? What did you think? And if you haven’t, read on to win your own copy!
Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours, I have one copy of Us for you. This one’s open to US & Canada residents only; no PO Boxes please. To enter, fill out the form below before November 17th. Good luck!