‘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?
It’s quite a while since I read any of David Nicholls’ work, the last being One Day. When I read the blurb for his new novel, Us, I knew I wanted to read it. I was extremely lucky to be sent a SIGNED copy by Bookbridgr; seriously guys I’m so grateful, thank you!
Douglas Peterson is a scientist who didn’t think he’d ever get married, until he met Connie. They’ve been married for 25 years and have one son, Albie. Albie’s leaving home to go to college and to mark the occasion Douglas has organised an epic family trip around Europe. It all sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Except Albie and Douglas aren’t overly close, and Connie has just announced that she thinks she might want to leave Douglas. So Douglas vows to make the holiday the best trip ever, and to win back his wife in the process. As you can probably imagine, things don’t go as smoothly as he had hoped.
We follow the story through the character of Douglas. He’s a really likable character, easy to relate to, intelligent and witty too. I actually pictured him like Walter White in Breaking Bad…well the way Walter was at the beginning of the show!
The story is told through fairly short chapters. I really like that about this book as through these short chapters we gradually see the whole picture. As well as reflecting upon the trip, Douglas shares the story of how he and Connie met and the various milestones in their lives that lead them up to this point.
On the whole I really enjoyed this book. As you’d imagine Nicholls’ writing style once again shone through, making for a great read. He tackled the subject of a marriage in decline very well and despite the fact that the story is told through Douglas’ eyes, we did get a sense of how both Connie and Albie were feeling too. He also, in my opinion, captured the sense of anguish and frustration of the strained relationship between a father and son with particular skill. Truthfully though I wasn’t too keen on the character of Connie…maybe we are meant to feel this way, or maybe I’m just Team Douglas through and through? Anyway, what matters is that I found this book very enjoyable, easy to read and it kept me engaged.
Are you a David Nicholls fan? What did you make of Us?