Book Review: Funny Girl

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Amazon Synopsis: “Set in 1960’s London, Funny Girl is a lively account of the adventures of the intrepid young Sophie Straw as she navigates her transformation from provincial ingénue to television starlet amid a constellation of delightful characters. Insightful and humorous, Nick Hornby’s latest does what he does best: endears us to a cast of characters who are funny if flawed, and forces us to examine ourselves in the process.”

Length and medium: 448 pages, hardcopy

Published by Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (February 2, 2016)

Destiny’s Thoughts

My boyfriend picked this book out for me for Christmas. Once I made it obvious that I enjoy reading, that’s like all I got. I’m lucky that Kirby (yea my boyfriend and I have video game names) and I have the same way of picking out books. We read the back, flip to a few random pages and if it’s interesting, we get it. I have to say this was a good pick on his part.

The first sentence made me smile immediately. I had no idea where the story was going. In my haste to get to the book, I hadn’t even read the back cover. I plunged in and was so humored by the first sentence that I put the book down. I was in the process of reading something else on my Kindle and was very nearly done with another hard copy book but I knew this one would require my full attention.

This book felt odd to me. Since I’ve picked up reading again, I usually read through books very quickly but I stopped midway through this book. Not really to much fault of its own. I was loaned a book from someone and wasn’t quite sure when they’d want it back so I read it as quickly as I could. When I got back to this book, I stumbled a bit on the characters. From the beginning, the characters didn’t seem that different but I think that is part of  the book’s ingenuity.

Sophie moves to London and starts working on a television series and I think it’s expected, though the book isn’t entirely from her point of view, that everyone feel very similar to her and therefore introduced that way. They are all big city types with a hand in a well-known radio show or BBC producers.

As the story progresses, we see less of Sophie and more of the characters that make this television series possible. I love Bill and Tony! They are the writers and I felt myself more interested in their lives at times than Sophie’s. Sometimes, it felt Bill and Tony were ahead of the series, mirroring their own lives in their writing and Clive and Sophie were behind it, mirroring their characters in real life with less commitment to one another.

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I think the biggest reason why I enjoyed this book is because Sophie didn’t become an outrageous diva. It would have been very easy for her to let everything go to her head but she always seemed grounded and aware that she was a part of a team.

As I neared the end, I understood why this story was told. It had more to do with the change in the entertainment industry more than anything. How writers and actors tried to remain current and fresh, but at some point the world changes at a rate that they don’t fully understand. They feel like they had a hand in changing the world of entertainment but it has turned into something they never expected.

I’d recommend this book for aspiring artists, writers, actors, basically anyone wanting to entertain the public. This is a good lesson to take risks, let your light shine, and when the world starts to change, don’t fight it. Sophie understood that her show couldn’t go on forever but she also knew she loved the spotlight.

If you’d like to check out this book, click here.

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