Book Event

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

You and Your Perfect Life

When Duncan makes his American pilgrimage to visit sites important in Tucker Crowe's life, he brings his partner Annie with him. She is certainly no "Crowologist" like Duncan, who spends his spare time on the Internet parsing every phrase of his hero's lyrics. In fact it was the British Duncan who wrote Crowe's Wikipedia article. But she humors him to get the free trip to America, as she has given in to his whims for the fifteen long years that they've been together. She does, however, like Crowe's CD, Juliet, the best break-up album ever written, and his swan song, as he hasn't put out another piece of music for the last twenty years.

When they return to England, Annie opens the leftover "unimportant" mail, so it is she who discovers the review copy of Crowe's new CD, Juliet, Naked, the unplugged version of his famous album. She listens to it first, and when Duncan finds out, he is so angry that he writes an extravagantly glowing review that is so over the top that she has to write a rebuttal. Duncan publishes Annie's review on his fan website to teach her a lesson, but instead she gets a personal e-mail back from Crowe himself, who likes what she wrote. This begins Annie and Tucker's secret pen-friend relationship that will torpedo the quiet lives that they have carefully cultivated and force them to decide what is truly important.

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby, is that "what if" book that all fans think about. If you could meet your favorite artist what would you say? What questions would get answered? Would you be able to deal with their humanity after you've put them up on your pedestal? You might be surprised at some of the answers.


Unknown said...

While admitting that I have long loved Hornby's writing...I can honestly say that I found this book quite meaningful. I had not read a Hornby book in quite a while when I loaded this one to the kindle for my vacation week.

Generally the critics seem to have spent a lot of time on the Tucker Crowe-Duncan obsession aspect of the story. I found this to be only a tool for creating the gorilla in the room.....the waste of: 15 years in a dead-end passionless relationship, 20 years of musical talent and numerous wives-children etc. I found this a book more about Annie and the current day Tucker).

In typical Hornby mechanics...the faded glamour, the mundane and damaged...takes center stage...but also in typical fashion...emerging from the rubble is a kind of hope.

Tucker and Annie's lives are laid out side by side. An interesting parallel with the town of Gooleness where nothing much has happened since 1964.

Emerging for both Annie and Tucker is the hope that it isn't all really over until it's....OVER (meaning dead).

Redemption is found in moving on to the next "chapter" with the promise that life will be better than it has been in the past. What's more important is not chronical-ing what has gone before in an obsessive way but focusing on what's next.

I was quite charmed with the book. I think any middle aged person mired in life, career, etc. can find something inspiring and hopeful in this work.

Perhaps I will stop listening to Jackson Browne quite so nostalgically and switch to Jack Johnson....

Donna said...

Thank you so much for your well thought out comment-I absolutely agree with you. I loved the end where Annie realized she was "cured," when the psychologist spouted the Gooleness party line, ie you just cant do this because it just isnt done. Bravo to you, Robert!

David said...

Hi Donna, I really loved the book too. As soon as I saw the list of song titles on Juliet, I wanted to write them! Here's a link to my demo of You and Your Perfect Life. Hope you enjoy it.


Donna said...

Im sure Hornby was very flattered that you wrote the song alluded to in his novel-my husband thought you sounded like Robert hunter, not too shabby, eh?

David said...

Hi Donna, Please thank your husband for the very kind compliment! I doubt Nick is aware of my song, but if he ever hears it I hope he likes it :-)

DeriK said...

Now this one is what I've been looking for. Would be giving you credits on the way how you deliver this great insight. Such an interesting story. pacman