A moving story with characters you will connect with.
Hodder & Stoughton
‘I was looking forward to us growing old together. Me and you, growing old and dying together.’
‘Douglas, who in their right mind would look forward to that?’
Douglas Petersen understands his wife’s need to ‘rediscover herself’ now that their son is leaving home.
He just thought they’d be doing their rediscovering together.
So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again.
The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed.
What could possibly go wrong?
This is a narrative that can be easily and enjoyably read for the pleasure of the journey itself; of discovering the characters and their failings and their triumphs as they journey through life’s ups and downs. David Nicholls has a wonderful ability to write stream of consciousness prose and great characters and realistic dialogue.
Give this narrative a little more thought and head space and you will discover many revelations regarding relationships, family, children, love and death and building bridges. For me though the stand out message was about gratefulness. Being grateful that someone finds you attractive and wants to spend time with you is not the best way begin any emotional transaction or indeed build any type of relationship on. It is certainly not the basis for marriage regardless of how much one party loves the other. Douglas has low self-confidence and cannot believe that someone like Connie could enjoy his company, love him and agree to marry him. Lesson number two; if you don’t love yourself how can you expect anyone else too? Douglas always tries to please and placate (as you can probably tell I find myself disliking Connie and her cavalier attitude; great work David Nicholls is making me believe in these characters, for the empathy I felt, for the insightful relationship guidance you provide on this journey). And I liked that you conclude the narrative with a glimmer of optimism for the future.
This is a great read, one that I think will particularly suit book clubs who will find many issues, many behaviours, conversations and attitudes to discuss and debate.