Thursday, April 9, 2015

Review: Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

I almost feel like I should write my review of Funny Girl by Nick Hornby in some kind of joke format.  From the book jacket, I thought I was starting a story about the crazy, wacky but wonderful world of entertainment in the 1960's but it was so much better than that. This is a behind-the-scenes look at the British entertainment business, folks, which is my way of saying it's much more interesting.

Our heroine, Sophie, nee Barbara, is the girl that every man wants, the girl that every other girl wants to be, and she's funny too. Sophie wants to be like Lucille Ball, but she basically gets her start in the television industry because she is honest with the writers about a terrible script when she goes out on an audition. From there, we follow her, her co-star and the show's writers as the comedy becomes a hit throughout the country, and while all that sounds kind of like the typical showbiz trajectory, it's really not.

Even though Sophie is the "funny girl," Hornby also lets his supporting characters shine and actually become people. It's fair to say that the book revolves around a very likeable Sophie but honestly, she's wasn't my personal favorite. Dennis and Tony, the show's producer and co-writer, respectively, were raw and human and open, and with his subtlety, Hornby makes you root for these people who not only make Sophie who she is, but also have lives of their own.

As I logged this book into my 'read' journal (yes, I have one; this is a no-judgement zone), I realized that this is the first book written by a man that I've read in several years, oddly enough. It is, however, the third Nick Hornby book that I've read and it was as honest and just plain fun as I expected it to be.  I officially recommend Funny Girl to anyone who is looking for a fast read, or who likes relateable characters or who is obsessed with I Love Lucy, or all of the above.