As you may well have gathered just about every post on here that I really don’t like reading books about normal people doing normal things, books I like to call ‘normies’. Generally, if it’s set on Earth and it’s about Humans in the present day, I’m not interested. I thought that it was time to revise that opinion and try my best to read something that wasn’t about dragons and magic.
It Had To Be You by David Nobbs is about a man called James Hollinghurst and his life in the days between his wife, Deborah, dying in a car crash and her funeral.
So ahead of Deborah’s funeral James’s great uncle Stanley comes to the house with two really heavy bags, despite only staying a couple of days. Among other things, he brings several books and when he’s asked if he would have time to read he replies with this…
This really struck home with me as it’s something that happens a lot for me. Recently, I attempted for what must have been the fifth time to read The Picture of Dorian Gray, but no matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t read it. But I just put it down, left it for a while and one day just decided to read it and absolutely devoured it in two days. It was obviously the right time for me to read it. It’s not fair for an author to work hard over a book and for someone not to enjoy it.
Why is it every book I read that’s about normal people, there’s someone having an affair? James is having an affair with a woman called Helen in this and all it did for the story was emphasise the guilt he felt for cheating on his now dead wife. But then again, Deborah was having an affair as well, but I won’t say with who!
If you remember from my review of Lee Child’s Make Me, I mention that I like to imagine the characters as actors I know to make them more real. For this book I imagined the main character James Hollinghurst as Jack Dee. He’s the only person that seemed suitably grumpy enough to fit James’s personality.
Even when I read books I don’t like, I always try and think of something good about it, otherwise the time spent was for nothing. I’ll put myself in the perspective of someone who enjoys normies. You get to see a snapshot of someone else’s life, a life that you may never have. It’s almost like it’s preparing you for if you do have to deal with that situation.
It’s a form of escapism, but not so far fetched as something like Lord of the Rings. It’s more relateable because it’s not too far removed from reality at all. So I guess in that respect, that’s why people like books about other people because they want situations that seem somewhat familiar.
Whereas, I couldn’t be more the opposite. I want books that are so far removed from reality with little or no humans at all. I want to read about things that I can’t do like casting magic spells, going on adventures, riding dragons.
What’s interesting is when I started reading, I would only ever read Jacqueline Wilson books because I wanted human characters that I could relate to. Just look at how much that’s changed!
The book hasn’t done much for the side of the normies and I think I will continue avoiding them in future for fear of being bored to death.