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Funny Girl

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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 Funny Girl does what he does best: endears us to a cast of characters who are funny if flawed, and fo 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 Funny Girl 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.


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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 Funny Girl does what he does best: endears us to a cast of characters who are funny if flawed, and fo 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 Funny Girl 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.

30 review for Funny Girl

  1. 4 out of 5

    Snotchocheez

    Never before has the time-worn critic's trope "Show, don't tell" been more utterly ignored than by Nick Hornby and his ambitious, yet thoroughly lackluster (and curiously unfunny) novel about British televised comedy in the 1960's-'70s, Funny Girl. I admire Hornby's vision here; his drive to present something fresh and new. His recounting the meteoric rise of fame and fortune of "I Love Lucy" worshipping, aspiring starlet from Blackpool, Barbara Parker, as she escapes her mundane life at home to Never before has the time-worn critic's trope "Show, don't tell" been more utterly ignored than by Nick Hornby and his ambitious, yet thoroughly lackluster (and curiously unfunny) novel about British televised comedy in the 1960's-'70s, Funny Girl. I admire Hornby's vision here; his drive to present something fresh and new. His recounting the meteoric rise of fame and fortune of "I Love Lucy" worshipping, aspiring starlet from Blackpool, Barbara Parker, as she escapes her mundane life at home to move to London and follow her dream to act and make people laugh, seemed like a can't-miss idea. The problem, though: he never, not once, provides his central character anything funny to say or do. He describes in exhausting behind-the-scenes detail Sophie Straw (Barbara's stage name) and her landing a leading role (and creative credit) on the comedy series "Barbara (and Jim)", and taking British television audiences by storm, but never provides any concrete examples of her comedic talent. We have to take Hornby's word for it that Sophie Straw is funny. 'Give us camp, pratfalls, one-liners, farce, anything funny at all' is the prevailing feeling the novel consistently evokes. Where's the fun in that? The novel isn't entirely devoid of humor (thank goodness); it becomes evident Hornby's effort employs an ensemble cast, including co-star Clive, and producer Dennis, along with the writing team Tony and Bill. In their round-table sessions, they do conjur up some funny lines (mostly of the hand-wringing "God, this show sucks" variety), but mostly only make it glaringly apparent that the titular Funny Girl, given nothing humorous to say, is nowhere near as funny as the title (and premise) promises. Once I resigned myself to this not being comedic, I tried to derive some enjoyment from the dynamic between characters (notably between writers Tony and Bill, the first sexually frustrated, the other semi-openly gay {a jailable offense in the 60's, evidently} as they struggle to write lines for a comedy featuring a straight couple), but ultimately, nothing adequately masks the absence of comedy here, transforming what should've been a dynamic fun read into a bland, poorly cooked Scotch Egg-y slog.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ron Charles

    Speaking at a college campus a few years ago, I joked about feeling like Lucy in the chocolate factory, and an undergraduate asked me when Lucy Hale worked in a chocolate factory. It was one of those moments when you suddenly picture yourself stooped and holding an ear trumpet. As a child, I watched the black-and-white reruns of “I Love Lucy” till I knew every frame. Vitameatavegamin, the grape-stomping brawl, the expanding bread loaf — are any family memories more vivid than those immortal scene Speaking at a college campus a few years ago, I joked about feeling like Lucy in the chocolate factory, and an undergraduate asked me when Lucy Hale worked in a chocolate factory. It was one of those moments when you suddenly picture yourself stooped and holding an ear trumpet. As a child, I watched the black-and-white reruns of “I Love Lucy” till I knew every frame. Vitameatavegamin, the grape-stomping brawl, the expanding bread loaf — are any family memories more vivid than those immortal scenes? Nick Hornby’s new novel, “Funny Girl,” is pitched to those of us who still ask, “Do you pop out at parties? Are you unpoopular?” It’s about a young British woman named Barbara who adores “I Love Lucy.” “Everything she felt or did came from that,” Hornby writes. “If there was a way to watch Lucy every single day of the week, then she would.” Hornby sets this mildly amusing story in the 1960s, when the BBC was expanding and experimenting, and people were wondering how to attract a younger television audience without pandering to the lowest tastes. (“10 Reasons Why This Sounds Familiar Today — No. 8 Will Blow Your Mind!”) Even in the Age of Aquarius, British and American networks were still broadcasting long conversations among intellectuals “about God and the H-bomb and theater and classical music.” Indeed, the funniest scene in “Funny Girl” is an episode of “Pipe Smoke,” a talk show so deliberately dull that it seems like “an attempt by the BBC to persuade the workers of Britain that they needed more sleep.” In Hornby’s pitch-perfect re-creation, a comedy producer slays a stuffy academic who’s raging on about “horse-racing and variety shows and pop groups who look and sound like cavemen.” Move along, old man — be grateful you won’t live long enough to see “Sex Box.” Young Barbara from north England is determined to be part of this television revolution. But that can’t happen in her small town, so she tosses off her beauty queen crown, leaves her father and heads to London. She knows nothing except that “making people laugh meant crossing your eyes and sticking your tongue out and saying things that might sound stupid or naive.” There’s a preordained quality to these early scenes, but Hornby moves Barbara along funnily enough through a few odd jobs and auditions before she reads for a part in a dreadful pilot called “Wedded Bliss.” The writers love her. “Here,” they think, “was everything they wanted to bring to the screen, in one neat and beautifully gift-wrapped package, handed to them by a ferocious and undiscovered talent who looked like a star.” In a classic moment of entertainment mythology, Barbara suddenly finds herself the star of Britain’s most popular sitcom. “Barbara (and Jim),” as the quickly reconceived show is called, is “fast and real,” despite the corporate suits who, as always, want the sharp edges sanded off. Even in 1967, the writers are already complaining that all the good sitcom plots have been “done to death.” But Barbara’s comedic brilliance electrifies the script, the cast, the nation. How fun it would have been to really see her in action and read one or two rollicking episodes in this novel. After all, a book that invokes Barbra Streisand’s Academy Award-winning movie and Lucille Ball’s television reign probably should wind us up with at least one fit of eye-watering, gasping-for-breath, wet-ourselves laughter. Alas, Hornby is constantly asking us to take his word for it. I’m reminded of my father-in-law, who once came to the end of a long joke and couldn’t remember the punch line. “Think of something really funny,” he told us. “It was exactly like that.” And so, while Barbara’s allegedly hilarious TV show plays on through a glass, darkly, we’re asked to attend to the parallel but not-too-funny marital antics of the actors, writers and producers. The best sections, by far, concern a friendship between the show’s two gay writers, Tony and Bill. Every week, they make England laugh at a version of family life they’re legally barred from enjoying. But Tony, ever the practical one, finds a way to play the straight man, as it were, and shape a marriage that works for him. Bill, meanwhile, clings to his cynicism and artistic purity and descends into chronic unhappiness. It’s a poignant portrayal of unconsummated desire and the corrosive effects of homophobia. But much of the novel, bathed in the TV-blue light of baby-boomer nostalgia, suffers from an enervating strain of pleasantness. The dozen archival photographs of period entertainment sprinkled through these pages add a touch of comic history, but the novel’s cultural-criticism knob is turned down very low. Its faint feminist theme about the plight of sharp-tongued women is a rerun we’ve seen many times. There’s some light satire about the interplay between actors’ lives and their TV characters, but certainly nothing that pushes the laugh track beyond “Entourage,” “Episodes” or “The Comeback.” “Funny Girl” eventually jumps ahead to Barbara’s golden years, when she’s lived a full life in the glow of that too-early, too-bright fame. It’s sweet, tinged with sadness and hard-working gratitude, but the story remains slack and surprise-free. We read on simply because we like Nick Hornby, the way we keep watching the tepid eighth season of some once-funny comedy out of a vague sense of devotion. This review first appeared in The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/enterta...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I'm such a big fan of Nick Hornby and this book is such a disappointment. I'd almost prefer not to provide a review. I have looked forward to this book for months now and received it from Penguin's First to Read. Perhaps the problem is with the narrator providing such distance from the characters that ultimately none of them are either believable or likable. Hornby has done so well in earlier works with believable characters that become likable in spite of their faults. In this book, it was all I'm such a big fan of Nick Hornby and this book is such a disappointment. I'd almost prefer not to provide a review. I have looked forward to this book for months now and received it from Penguin's First to Read. Perhaps the problem is with the narrator providing such distance from the characters that ultimately none of them are either believable or likable. Hornby has done so well in earlier works with believable characters that become likable in spite of their faults. In this book, it was all so breezy that it just wasn't interesting. That's about the best I can offer. The book misses on so many levels that I just don't know what else to offer. Comedy is hard. It is effortful. But not in this book. London in the 60s was exciting. Again, not in this book. The beginning and end rate 2 stars. The vast middle is just painful, I'm so sorry to say.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    Being funny is a serious business, and in his latest novel Nick Hornby gets to demonstrate that making people laugh is just as valid and fullfilling a life choice as curing diseases or educating the masses or studying history, philosophy, economics. I’m mentioning these fields because the novel is about the BBC as a national institution that spends money from taxes on creating educative programs, and some people grumble about expenses on trivial, even offensively vulgar pursuits. The key passage Being funny is a serious business, and in his latest novel Nick Hornby gets to demonstrate that making people laugh is just as valid and fullfilling a life choice as curing diseases or educating the masses or studying history, philosophy, economics. I’m mentioning these fields because the novel is about the BBC as a national institution that spends money from taxes on creating educative programs, and some people grumble about expenses on trivial, even offensively vulgar pursuits. The key passage in the book for me is a televized debate on the subject of humour between a sitcom producer (Dennis) and a highbrow critic from Cambridge or Oxford (Vernon) : What a terrible thing an education was, he thought, if it produced the kind of mind that despised entertainment and the people who valued it. and in another relevant quote: Some of the cross-looking men he saw beetling around the dingier corridors of the BBC believed that comedy was the enemy. They actually wanted people not to laugh, ever. I have been reading the novels of Nick Hornby almost as soon as they were published, starting with his soccer obsession for Arsenal in Fever Pitch. I believe I have been noticing the maturing of him as writer, espeically in A Long Way Down and in this latest book, not so much in the toning down of the humour as in the more adult themes and in the deeper engagement in the issues tackled. He is still hilarious and he still creates captivating characters, but I am more aware of the corrosive effects of society on his heroes/heroines, of their pains and disillusionments, of their struggles and of their need for companionship and understanding. Funny Girl is written as a fictionalized biography, but it is so well crafted and supported with insider information, documentary photos, real life actors, writers and producers, that I was often in doubt about how much is invented and how much really did happen. The story starts with 19 y.o. Barbara, the reluctant almost winner of the Miss Blackpool contest in 1959, and follows her to London where she works as a sales girl in a mall before landing the leading role in a new comedy being produced by the BBC. While she remains the focus of the novel for the entire seasonal run of the show, the writer changes the point of view to allow us into the creative process at all levels: Tony and Bill the writers, Dennis the Producer, Clive her co-star, etc. All of them are bursting with enthusiasm and new ideas, pushing each other to get to the top of the ratings and beyond. But we also witness their private lives, their secret yearnings, envies, rivalries, insecurities. Like every comedy show ever produced, the one Barbara stars in is a victim of its own success, and the vein of originality is drained, the edginess of the jokes is blunted, the audiences start to move to greener pastures. So it goes. I laughed and I cried with Barbara and her friends. Funny Girl may not be as easily accessible and filled with memorable jokes as High Fidelity (still my favorite Hornby) but in its own way it is probably the better book. For goodbye, I have selected the speach Barbara givesafter the filming of the last episode: I’ve never been happy in the way that I’ve been happy in this room, and in the studios. I’ve never laughed so much, or learned so much, and everything I know about my job is because of the people here. Even you Clive. And I’m worried that I’ll spend the rest of my working life looking for an experience like this one, where everything clicks and everyone pushes you to do the best you can, better than anything you think you’re capable of.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adrian White

    How he does it, I don’t know, but Nick Hornby creates interesting characters and turns them into human beings we actually care about. In Funny Girl, he does it while successfully evoking a whole era – early sixties London on the cusp of change, from a dour post-war Britain to a world where anything is possible for those with youth and talent on their side. It’s no coincidence that The Beatles were on my iPod throughout this past week. In Nick Hornby novels, it’s always the humanity that shines th How he does it, I don’t know, but Nick Hornby creates interesting characters and turns them into human beings we actually care about. In Funny Girl, he does it while successfully evoking a whole era – early sixties London on the cusp of change, from a dour post-war Britain to a world where anything is possible for those with youth and talent on their side. It’s no coincidence that The Beatles were on my iPod throughout this past week. In Nick Hornby novels, it’s always the humanity that shines through. His stories are deceptively light; entertaining us into situations until we stop reading for a second and think, hang on, that’s really quite sad, or moving, or surprising. There’s a lot to admire here – as there is in each of his novels. My favourite remains How to be Good – no, sorry, my favourite remains High Fidelity, but How to be Good is so accomplished, so human, so damned good, I was amazed that the literary world failed to gasp in awe and amazement when it was published. Perhaps the highbrows prefer their humour to be not quite so funny – Howard Jacobson take a bow – but it’s Nick Hornby’s lightness of touch that sets a trap for his readers for him then to break their hearts. Funny Girl: a funny writer and a fine human being.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nadine Larter

    You know how there's that cliche question of "If you could have dinner with anyone at all, dead or alive, who would you choose?" and then your answer is supposed to establish a whole bunch of things about who you are or your compatibility with someone or something? Well, my fantasy dinner guest has been Nick Hornby for as long as I can remember. Of course, if we're allowed to choose fictional people for this question then I might have to choose The Doctor, but it might be best not to go there... You know how there's that cliche question of "If you could have dinner with anyone at all, dead or alive, who would you choose?" and then your answer is supposed to establish a whole bunch of things about who you are or your compatibility with someone or something? Well, my fantasy dinner guest has been Nick Hornby for as long as I can remember. Of course, if we're allowed to choose fictional people for this question then I might have to choose The Doctor, but it might be best not to go there... As for Mr. Hornby, I think he would be a fantastic person to just hang out with. I know t his because there is no doubt in my mind that I kind of know him. Sorry Sir, but your writing is exceptionally revealing. Or it is to me at least. How do I even start this review? "How to Be Good" has been my soul book for such a long time. It still is, of course, because I will be psychologically attached to it for the rest of my life. I do, however, have to admit that Funny Girl might be just the tiniest bit better. I'm not sure how or why, but I think Nick Hornby has outdone himself with this latest gift to the masses. Maybe it's because I'm a fan of British comedy, or just British television in general, or maybe it's simply that I really can't help but understand everything this man says. Whatever it is, I once again find myself at the end of a Hornby novel feeling exceptionally happy for his existence. This book is filled with the exceptionally 3 dimensional characters that we have all come to expect from Hornby and I couldn't be more thrilled to have started the new year with these people.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    “What was he doing with her? How on earth could he love her? But he did. Or, at least, she made him feel sick, sad and distracted. Perhaps there was another way of describing that unique and useless combination of feelings, but ‘love’ would have to do for now” Funny Girl is the sixth full-length novel by British author, Nick Hornby. Set, for the most part, in the mid-to-late 1960s, Hornby’s latest novel gives the reader an intimate look at the making of a TV comedy series. His TV show, cast and c “What was he doing with her? How on earth could he love her? But he did. Or, at least, she made him feel sick, sad and distracted. Perhaps there was another way of describing that unique and useless combination of feelings, but ‘love’ would have to do for now” Funny Girl is the sixth full-length novel by British author, Nick Hornby. Set, for the most part, in the mid-to-late 1960s, Hornby’s latest novel gives the reader an intimate look at the making of a TV comedy series. His TV show, cast and crew are fictional, but Hornby firmly establishes the era with historical fact, using mentions of real-life politicians, personalities and events, as well as photographs, an advertisements and a cartoon strip. By adding extracts of scripts, a book cover, reviews, and program notes, he gives the whole thing an authenticity that will delight readers familiar with those years. Barbara Parker’s heroine is Lucille Ball, and her ambition is to be in comedy TV. She may be beautiful enough to win Miss Blackpool, but she gives it up in an instant to head to London, to become Sophie Straw, and, eventually, to audition for a BBC Comedy Playhouse show. Before too long, she is starring, as (ironically) Barbara from Blackpool, in a hugely popular sitcom series about a married couple, written by her comic heroes, Bill Gardiner and Tony Holmes, and titled “Barbara (and Jim)”. Characters and dialogue are Hornby’s strengths, and he does not disappoint with Funny Girl. It is impossible not to like and care about this diverse bunch, despite (or perhaps because of) their many and varied flaws: vanity, confusion about sexuality, selfishness, superficiality, timidity. There is plenty of humour, much of it dry, the sort that elicits wry chuckles rather than laugh-out-loud guffaws (“Davie remained undeterred. In his mind’s eye, he said, he always saw Clive as a cowboy. Clive had always thought that Davie needed his mind’s eye tested”). Topical themes of the sixties feature: feminism, homosexuality and the sexually permissive society (“He was talking about the times they all suddenly lived in, and how hard it was not to be a small boy in a sweet shop with no cash register”). This is a novel in which life imitates art, but also, often, the reverse, as the writers of the show rely on what they know. This funny and moving novel is another brilliant dose of Hornby at his best.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    I love Nick Hornby he is a brilliant quick witted man . I got this book when I attended a meet and greet here where I live. I had not previously read any of his work but I loved the movie An Education that he wrote the screen play for, so I thought it would be fun to attend. As soon as he started talking and telling stories and engaging with us , I knew I was going to love this book and I did. I think the whole point of the Funny Girl was that life isn't always funny and I wished more had been w I love Nick Hornby he is a brilliant quick witted man . I got this book when I attended a meet and greet here where I live. I had not previously read any of his work but I loved the movie An Education that he wrote the screen play for, so I thought it would be fun to attend. As soon as he started talking and telling stories and engaging with us , I knew I was going to love this book and I did. I think the whole point of the Funny Girl was that life isn't always funny and I wished more had been written from the perspective of the elderly version of the characters cause they were great . All in all I love Nick and I love this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    Meant to be an easy, breezy, affectionate nod to the 60's - but I found it bland. Like creme brulee without the sugar topping - just no snap to it. I couldn't wait to be finished. Sorry, Nick Hornby fans - think this one is a bit of a miss.

  10. 5 out of 5

    J.

    Funny Title Maybe the rest of the world is just slow to keep up with Nick Hornby, but if we're not all mistaken, there is already a story out there about a perky young girl crashing the gates of showbiz; and it is also called Funny Girl. Maybe that (stage musical, movie, original cast album, videotape, dvd, karaoke selections etc) didn't quite make it to the UK ? Just wondering. Hodgepodge Let's be honest-- this is an effervescent novel, a patchouli-scented paisley-printed mini-skirted ... er, 'rom Funny Title Maybe the rest of the world is just slow to keep up with Nick Hornby, but if we're not all mistaken, there is already a story out there about a perky young girl crashing the gates of showbiz; and it is also called Funny Girl. Maybe that (stage musical, movie, original cast album, videotape, dvd, karaoke selections etc) didn't quite make it to the UK ? Just wondering. Hodgepodge Let's be honest-- this is an effervescent novel, a patchouli-scented paisley-printed mini-skirted ... er, 'romp' I guess you'd call it. But it secretly wants to be a little issue-oriented, an advocate of social justice, a little circumspect in the midst of all that silver-lamé and marijuana smoke. It's Just A Jump To The Left Mostly, it has a lovely time getting around all the tough issues that early-sixties Britons were trying to confront with some honesty. A Taste Of Honey or Look Back In Anger-- this is not. Tempests All Neatly Confined To Teapots What the author seems to miss is a convincing voice of the era, compelling period artifacts, or unexpected aspects that really take us there. Everything here is pretty much available to anyone who has an internet and the books of David Kynaston. Nothing that comes along even minutely rocks the boat, and that's a little disconcerting here at the apex of Sixties London. Just Put Your Hands On Your Hips What the author does naturally with dialogue however, is what makes this a fun read. NB, not a significant or important read, just a lark of a light comic opera, set in the second-most swingingest* era of the twentieth century. Nick Hornby has a way with character interaction that goes above and beyond 'patter'. He's clearly listening to the lines and vetting them for time and pace and funny. Let's Do The Time Warp Again And it must be admitted, he's also weighing the dialogue and scene length for the inevitable motion-picture treatment that will come along circa 2016. Can't blame any author for that, though when we buy the novel we're there to read the novel, not the outline for the screenplay. Beach-book of the year for summer 2015. ____________________________ * not hard to rate 6o's London as swinging, but surely 2o's Harlem has the prior claim on swingingest.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Donna McCaul Thibodeau

    This book was one that I wished I had stopped reading a quarter of the way through but I kept hoping it would get better. It didn't. The author's characters were so underdeveloped that I truly didn't care what happened to them. This was basically a story about...nothing. I found it very boring.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Robin (Bridge Four)

    High Fidelity is one of my favorite movies ever so when I saw that Funny Girl was written by the same person I decided to give it a try. This ended up being a meh story for me. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. It just seems that the characters that I had the most interest in weren’t the main character Sophie (formerly Barbara) or else I might have liked it a little more. I don’t have a lot of experience with the sixties but it seems like an unusual time where people didn’t discuss se High Fidelity is one of my favorite movies ever so when I saw that Funny Girl was written by the same person I decided to give it a try. This ended up being a meh story for me. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. It just seems that the characters that I had the most interest in weren’t the main character Sophie (formerly Barbara) or else I might have liked it a little more. I don’t have a lot of experience with the sixties but it seems like an unusual time where people didn’t discuss sex and most things are swept under the rug and talked around. I mean the main character isn’t even sure if she is a virgin or not. “You’re not a virgin, are you?” “Of course not,” said Barbara. The truth was she wasn’t sure. There had been some sort of business with Aidan, right before the beauty pageant. She had decided that she wanted to be unencumbered before coming to London. He’d been hopeless, though, and she was consequently unsure of her official status. It’s a time when women seem to have only a few options. Find a man and settle down to have a load of kids or work while looking to find a man to settle down with and have a load of kids or…become the mistress of an already married man with a load of kids. I would not do well in this time in history. Sophie grew up loving Lucile Ball and wants to be funny on TV just like her, but she is curvy and pretty so no one takes her seriously. This is what doesn’t translate well in the book, sure the book tells you she made a situation or the show she is on funnier with her actions and gestures but I can’t see that so I wasn’t totally impressed by her. I liked Sophie for the most part and I did enjoy her journey from a small town to being a big star but I still had much more interest in a few other characters. I did like that Hornby didn’t make her agent as sleazy are they are normally portrayed. Brian discovers Sophie and thinks she looks like a different star which will make her money. He never actually thought she could act but takes her on as a client and sends her to a few additions thinking she would give up and just play on the bombshell looks she has . He was an interesting guy who found a niche in the industry to make money in. “You were going to take me bikini-shopping?” “Not me, dear. Patsy. I’m not interested in looking at curvy young women in bikinis. I’m deeply in love with my wife and I’m only interested in money.” She now understood what Brian emphasized his feelings for his wife over and over again for the same reason that people with a fear of heights told themselves not to look down when they were at the top of a tall building: he was afraid. Every time she went into his office, another beautiful young woman was coming out. If was sweet, really. He actually was deeply in love with his wife and he wanted to keep it that way. Most of the other characters while likeable kind of run together. Dennis, Tony and Bill almost seemed like the same person at times and I had a difficult time keeping track of who was who during conversations. They were a little flat and I really wished they were fleshed out a little better. I was pulling for Dennis the sweet man treated poorly by his wife that fell in love with Sophie. Clive her actor opposite drove me a little nuts with his womanizing sleep with anyone ways and Bill was a gay man living in a very illegal time to be a gay man. I might have liked to have seen the world through his eyes a little more and it was touched on but not explored, I guess much like it would have been in the 60s. The Person/People I really wanted a better look are were Tony and his wife Jane. Tony is a writer and he is really unclear on his sexuality or even if he has any. He was once arrested for trying to pick up a man in a seedy area of town but fell in love and married a woman. It is an awkward and untraditional marriage but this is the story I really wanted to read about. What would someone in the 60s do in this situation? Who would they talk to? How would they figure it out? I loved that patient nature of his wife who didn’t have any experiences with men before marriage and just assumed when things didn’t ‘happen’ between them that he was gay. “The marriage between Barbara and Jim hasn’t been consummated, because Jim is having difficulties.” “Ah.” “Bill’s idea.” “I can imagine.” “It’s not supposed to be you and me,” he said. “It just started to go that way, and I didn’t feel I could stop it without giving too much away.” “Are they going to sort it all out in the end?” “Yes.” “Then I will enjoy watching it,” said June. One of my favorite parts of the book was them talking about the situation they are in and trying to figure out how they can have a life together. Theirs is the story I really would have liked to read. I also enjoyed Dennis and his genuine affection for Sophie. This book is probably a pretty good representation of the time period but it wasn’t as funny as I would have expected a Hornby to be based off his prior works. I really think this would work better as a movie than an actual book. So I look forward to the movie (I don’t actually know there is a movie just hoping)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lynx

    Barbara has always had one dream, to be the next Lucille Ball. Moving from Blackpool to London as soon as she possibly can and changing her name to Sophie Straw, she hits the ground running. As luck would have it, an early audition has her in front of one of her favourite radio writing teams who happen to find her charming and her ideas an inspiration. So begins the journey of what will turn into one of Britain's most popular sitcoms and the careers of those behind the scenes. What a disappointme Barbara has always had one dream, to be the next Lucille Ball. Moving from Blackpool to London as soon as she possibly can and changing her name to Sophie Straw, she hits the ground running. As luck would have it, an early audition has her in front of one of her favourite radio writing teams who happen to find her charming and her ideas an inspiration. So begins the journey of what will turn into one of Britain's most popular sitcoms and the careers of those behind the scenes. What a disappointment this one turned out to be. Well written and breezily enjoyable but lacking any surprises and a complete waste of its many awesome resources. Hornby chooses to set this in the 1960’s, a fantastic idea, and while he does reference the politics of the time, teaches readers about the rise of BBC sitcoms and throw in a few pop culture goodies he makes his lead characters mere observers of the swinging revolution, completely naive and totally square. Setting likeable but boring characters into a decade filled with so much life and culture and not having them jump in and participate made me feel totally cheated. Not one of Hornby’s best. 2.5/5

  14. 5 out of 5

    Helene Jeppesen

    This was a funny and whimsical story about Barbara, a very beautiful blonde who wants to make people laugh. It's a story about her journey from Blackpool to London - a journey for independence. "Funny Girl" is also about a sitcom in 1960s London because Barbara gets to be the star of this sitcom. We get behind the scenes and hear about her work and her relationship with the other actors, writers and producers who are all very interesting characters! What I loved the most about this book is that This was a funny and whimsical story about Barbara, a very beautiful blonde who wants to make people laugh. It's a story about her journey from Blackpool to London - a journey for independence. "Funny Girl" is also about a sitcom in 1960s London because Barbara gets to be the star of this sitcom. We get behind the scenes and hear about her work and her relationship with the other actors, writers and producers who are all very interesting characters! What I loved the most about this book is that it's funny and silly both at the same time. Especially the dialogues stood out to me because they are written in a "he said" "she said" manner. That attributed to the whole style of the book which is kind of vintage pop-ish (if that's a word)? I didn't live back in the 60s and I did get a feeling that I didn't completely understand what this was a parody of. The women back then, the stereotypes or the sitcoms? I still very much enjoyed it and I was often reading with a smile on my face because this book is hilarious :) The ending left we a little confused; I didn't quite understand why Nick Hornby decided to go in that direction with the story. But all in all, this was a very pleasurable and relaxing read that I would definitely recommend.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marre

    Out of five Hornby’s books I've read, I found this least interesting. I still like the way he writes, I like the dialogue, I like the characters, the tiny little things that happen and what people say to each other. Reading it was enjoyable and I also liked the idea of writing simultaneously about two realities – the real reality and the reality and life of TV characters. However, the story itself was not as fascinating as the other ones have been. It was simply kind of ordinary, things that you Out of five Hornby’s books I've read, I found this least interesting. I still like the way he writes, I like the dialogue, I like the characters, the tiny little things that happen and what people say to each other. Reading it was enjoyable and I also liked the idea of writing simultaneously about two realities – the real reality and the reality and life of TV characters. However, the story itself was not as fascinating as the other ones have been. It was simply kind of ordinary, things that you’d expect happened, nothing much went wrong, nothing surprised. It felt a bit like a biography. Occasionally I had to remind myself that this is an Hornby not a random love story - this is supposed to be good! Juliet, naked was my favourite.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    3.5 What I love about Nick Hornby is that he really gets how messy people are— in and out of love. Step back 50+ years and you’ll find a cast of characters that will charm, confuse, humor and annoy you. Each and every one looking for love in 1960s London. I adore the setting, the interspersing of real 1960s British names in the business (and government) and a behind the scenes look at making a BBC sit-com which breaks new TV ground. I’d call this a fairly quick read with limited conflicts and simp 3.5 What I love about Nick Hornby is that he really gets how messy people are— in and out of love. Step back 50+ years and you’ll find a cast of characters that will charm, confuse, humor and annoy you. Each and every one looking for love in 1960s London. I adore the setting, the interspersing of real 1960s British names in the business (and government) and a behind the scenes look at making a BBC sit-com which breaks new TV ground. I’d call this a fairly quick read with limited conflicts and simple plot threads— but don’t let it fool you— it is still deliciously, and ever so faintly twisted... just like life. There are several notable scenes that made me feel in my 20s again—dropping a roommate, arguing with parents, falling for the easy guy and moments of self-confidence highs alternating with anxiety-ridden lows. The relationship between Tony and Bill is, in my humble opinion, the one that resonated with me the most. Their friendship is so complicated and yet some things were very clear. I loved where their story arc’s went. The book was so much richer for it. Ahh, love (and not just the sexy-time kind but the love between friends, the love of craft and the love of life), Mr Hornby reminds us that we all want it. Love, in all of its forms, can be fairly elusive and not everyone finds it, but regardless, we continue on. The ending only partly worked for me— seemed more of a plot device to give everyone an excuse to look back. But the last few pages were satisfying without being overly sentimental. Reading about Sophie and her friends gave me a better understanding of my parents’ generation. Mr Hornby, we’re both getting up there in years and I love that you still have something to say about love beyond the 20 and 30-something crowd you’ve come to represent.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    I am a Nick Hornby fan and have been since I read High Fidelity over a decade ago. But I also admit that his recent work often leaves me cold. I had mixed feelings on How to Be Good and couldn't get past the second chapter of A Long Way Down. I'm happy to report that with Funny Girl Hornby returns to form. This book is more like his former work, including Fever Pitch, High Fidelity, and About a Boy. It's not his peak, but it's delightful and a fun read. While it's set in "London in the Swinging 6 I am a Nick Hornby fan and have been since I read High Fidelity over a decade ago. But I also admit that his recent work often leaves me cold. I had mixed feelings on How to Be Good and couldn't get past the second chapter of A Long Way Down. I'm happy to report that with Funny Girl Hornby returns to form. This book is more like his former work, including Fever Pitch, High Fidelity, and About a Boy. It's not his peak, but it's delightful and a fun read. While it's set in "London in the Swinging 60's," that's not really what the book is going for. It's not so much a period piece (even though that is its setting) as it is a story of people where the setting is just where they happen to be. Barbara flees Blackpool for London hoping to be the next Lucille Ball and is granted her wish thanks to stumbling on an audition with Tom, Bill, Clive, and Dennis who are casting for a Comedy Playhouse special. The five of them hit it off in that way that you know you've just found the final member of a group you didn't know you were looking for. The chief pleasures of the book are in the company of these 5 (Bill and Tom are the writers, Clive is the leading man, Dennis is the producer) and the quick patter of their talks. Its main flaw is the emotional distance it keeps from its characters, which is usually one of Hornby's strengths. Still, it's a fun and fast read, I got through it in less than 24 hours and never wanted to put it down.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Strömquist

    Great book! The nostalgia of the 60's setting, the extremely good writing capturing both the time and the place so well it plays like a movie in your head, the great dialogue-driven humor and the bitter-sweetness showing through are all 5-star ingredients and makes for a great reading experience. The middle of the book, though, stalls severely. Not catastrophic in a short book, but it's there. The story and developments are also very dialogue based and we might have gotten to know the characters Great book! The nostalgia of the 60's setting, the extremely good writing capturing both the time and the place so well it plays like a movie in your head, the great dialogue-driven humor and the bitter-sweetness showing through are all 5-star ingredients and makes for a great reading experience. The middle of the book, though, stalls severely. Not catastrophic in a short book, but it's there. The story and developments are also very dialogue based and we might have gotten to know the characters a bit better (especially the not main ones). These are minor things though and just drops this one from the "amazing" rating for me. It's still a great one and very much recommended!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Heather Fineisen

    I am a Nick Hornby Believer, get it? If you do, then you will understand why I don't like Funny Girl. It fell flat, as if Hornby has to let the reader in on the joke. Queue the laugh track, the sad music...maybe this was intentional as the story depicts the making of an I Love Lucy BBC type sitcom. Hornby's strength is his wit and ability to reveal vulnerabilities and foibles while still allowing us to laugh at ourselves. This didn't happen for me. But, I'm still a believer...yeah...I know...sad I am a Nick Hornby Believer, get it? If you do, then you will understand why I don't like Funny Girl. It fell flat, as if Hornby has to let the reader in on the joke. Queue the laugh track, the sad music...maybe this was intentional as the story depicts the making of an I Love Lucy BBC type sitcom. Hornby's strength is his wit and ability to reveal vulnerabilities and foibles while still allowing us to laugh at ourselves. This didn't happen for me. But, I'm still a believer...yeah...I know...sad music. Provided by Penguin First to Read

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Hornby’s seventh novel is an inside look at 1960s British popular culture, as one young woman tries to make it big in television comedy. Despite the title, this is one of his less humorous novels; it has a more bittersweet, reflective tone overall. For me, Tony’s was the most meaningful and noteworthy story, more so than Sophie’s well-trodden rags-to-riches trajectory. With its focus away from contemporary times, this might not be vintage Hornby, but it is a memorable evocation, nevertheless, of Hornby’s seventh novel is an inside look at 1960s British popular culture, as one young woman tries to make it big in television comedy. Despite the title, this is one of his less humorous novels; it has a more bittersweet, reflective tone overall. For me, Tony’s was the most meaningful and noteworthy story, more so than Sophie’s well-trodden rags-to-riches trajectory. With its focus away from contemporary times, this might not be vintage Hornby, but it is a memorable evocation, nevertheless, of the Swinging Sixties in Britain. (Non-subscribers can read an excerpt of my full review at BookBrowse.)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Barbara Parker is a beautiful Blackpool girl who escapes to London in the 60s hoping to become a comedienne. She adores 'I Love Lucy' and badly wants to get into theatre or TV, however her strong accent is seen as a major problem for the conservative English audiences used to more mellow tones. Changing her name to Sophie Straw she unexpectedly lands a major role in a new TV show where the writers are looking for someone 'different' and her career is launched. Nick Hornby is such a good writer of Barbara Parker is a beautiful Blackpool girl who escapes to London in the 60s hoping to become a comedienne. She adores 'I Love Lucy' and badly wants to get into theatre or TV, however her strong accent is seen as a major problem for the conservative English audiences used to more mellow tones. Changing her name to Sophie Straw she unexpectedly lands a major role in a new TV show where the writers are looking for someone 'different' and her career is launched. Nick Hornby is such a good writer of characters that this feels more of a real-life biography of Barbara/Sophie than a novel. Her leading man, Clive is less well fleshed out and remains a bit player as do the writers of the series Bill and Tony and Director Dennis, which is a shame as they were interesting characters who I would have liked to find more engaging. There are lots of references to the music and nightlife of the times as well as the other much loved comedy TV and radio shows. The changing attitudes to sex are also a feature of the book as Sophie deals with societal attitudes to young, unmarried women and two of the characters struggle with the with the illegality of homosexuality. All in all, an entertaining novel.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    3.5 stars This is the first Nick Hornby book I've read. I did watch both the movie and the TV series "It's about a Boy" and liked both of them very much so I thought I'd give this a go. It's a funny book but it's not a book that stays with you. It's like eating popcorn for dinner. It's fun but it doesn't really fuel you. I will have to say that it may appeal to people in the UK as they will get more of the references than I did. I didn't know a lot of the shows and some of the famous people the 3.5 stars This is the first Nick Hornby book I've read. I did watch both the movie and the TV series "It's about a Boy" and liked both of them very much so I thought I'd give this a go. It's a funny book but it's not a book that stays with you. It's like eating popcorn for dinner. It's fun but it doesn't really fuel you. I will have to say that it may appeal to people in the UK as they will get more of the references than I did. I didn't know a lot of the shows and some of the famous people they make reference to. Barbara, renamed Sophie, makes her way from Blackpool to London to become a star and does this almost immediately. The whole sequence of events is so unlikely to happen that it put the whole book off for me. I want some believability in my stories and this did not provide it. I don't want to say too much as too spoil it for anyone but it was really unrealistic. Sophie becomes an actress to be like Lucille Ball but when they have a meeting it is so flat that it's a real let down. It isn't a book that I would recommend but it is a fun, relaxing book to kill a few hours. I saw one reviewer referenced Danielle Steele novels and I think that would be an apt comparison. Some people will really enjoy it but I'm just not one of them.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    What a great book to start off a new year of reading. I love Nick Hornby so I was predisposed to enjoy this book but what's not to like? I love the setting of behind the scenes at the BBC in 1960's London. I love the photos he added to anchor the fictional story in with the real events of that time. Barbara/Sophie was a perfect blend of small town roots and big city aspirations. Hornby shows us the changing values in society as they are reflected back to us in the television shows of that time w What a great book to start off a new year of reading. I love Nick Hornby so I was predisposed to enjoy this book but what's not to like? I love the setting of behind the scenes at the BBC in 1960's London. I love the photos he added to anchor the fictional story in with the real events of that time. Barbara/Sophie was a perfect blend of small town roots and big city aspirations. Hornby shows us the changing values in society as they are reflected back to us in the television shows of that time with likable characters and several laughs. Overall very entertaining.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Raymond

    Man, what a disappointment. I'm going to get a little spoilery here, so fair warning if you don't want to know anything about the final scenes. Anyway, Funny Girl. Nick Hornby might be my favorite non-genre author, if not my favorite author outright, so I've been waiting for the United States version of this for a while. Granted, I've been reading a lot of other things while picking away at this, but I almost certainly would have given up on this very quickly had it been written by someone else. I Man, what a disappointment. I'm going to get a little spoilery here, so fair warning if you don't want to know anything about the final scenes. Anyway, Funny Girl. Nick Hornby might be my favorite non-genre author, if not my favorite author outright, so I've been waiting for the United States version of this for a while. Granted, I've been reading a lot of other things while picking away at this, but I almost certainly would have given up on this very quickly had it been written by someone else. It turns out that, at least for me, the tale of an actress and her co-stars on a well-regarded British sitcom just doesn't do it for me. It's sort of like trying to be a Mad Men of sorts with the era, but comes across more like The Casual Vacancy in tone as I couldn't really wrap my head around a lot of this and how British it was in parts. I fully recognize that the problem might have been me in this case, but I've never had this issue with Hornby before which makes me believe this might have just been a misstep. But. This book, in US hardcover, is roughly 450 pages or so. If this was a short story that started on page 400 or so (in the final section when they're talking reunion), or even started the story out with the reunion and moved forward from there, I would have been much more engaged. In a sense, the story being told for the first 80% of the book felt like really frustrating, almost unimportant setup for what ended up being a pretty compelling finale. While I'm glad I read through the end for that, at least, it also served in making me dislike the first parts that much more. Given the lack of buzz around this one in comparison to, say, Juliet, Naked from a few years back, I don't know what to say. I can't expect them all to be winners, and maybe this is a misstep and it's difficult to write a story about sitcom stars from the 1960s, but I wanted to enjoy this so much and it ended up being such a slog. I can't recommend it as much as I wish I could.

  25. 4 out of 5

    G.H. Eckel

    If you go into the book expecting a laugh, you'll be disappointed. It's more of a drama about a pretty, British woman from a small town who dreams of being Lucille Ball. Her pageant-winning beauty gains her entry into the writing combine of a bad British TV show. She, however, resurrects the story and becomes its main character. The show is successful and somewhat amusing to the reader. What's interesting is how unfunny most of the novel is but I take that to be an insight into human nature. Som If you go into the book expecting a laugh, you'll be disappointed. It's more of a drama about a pretty, British woman from a small town who dreams of being Lucille Ball. Her pageant-winning beauty gains her entry into the writing combine of a bad British TV show. She, however, resurrects the story and becomes its main character. The show is successful and somewhat amusing to the reader. What's interesting is how unfunny most of the novel is but I take that to be an insight into human nature. Sometimes we want to be exactly what we are not: a pretty woman who doesn't care about her beauty and wants instead to be funny but isn't. It's the "other side of the fence" syndrome. And once on that side, there are other fences to look over. The banter between fellow TV show writers is sometimes funny. They're the dodgy veterans of show business who are interesting characters, who actually should be on the comedy TV show... as they are on display for us, the reader. We root for the protagonist to succeed but there's not much cause for empathizing with her, really. She starts out as a beauty pageant winner, whips a lousy TV show concept into something viable, then becomes its star. Great. And, so what. Hornby, as a writer is a pro. From the start you feel in good hands. At best, the novel taps into all of our aspirations to realize a dream and, as Marlon Brando said in On the Waterfront, "Become somebody."

  26. 5 out of 5

    Simon Hollway

    But it's 5 stars really but it's not great literature but it doesn't pretend to be but if I gave it 5 stars it would rank equal to Nabokov in my universe but it doesn't but I did finish it in half a day but I didn't want anything heavy so it did the job but it's got some nice bits in it but I could never write so fluidly so it shouldn't be 3 stars but it can't be 5 but it could be four so let's say four but not four like a Bolano four but four like a Graham Greene but not four like an Aldous Hux But it's 5 stars really but it's not great literature but it doesn't pretend to be but if I gave it 5 stars it would rank equal to Nabokov in my universe but it doesn't but I did finish it in half a day but I didn't want anything heavy so it did the job but it's got some nice bits in it but I could never write so fluidly so it shouldn't be 3 stars but it can't be 5 but it could be four so let's say four but not four like a Bolano four but four like a Graham Greene but not four like an Aldous Huxley or an Orwell so 3 then but really 5 in terms of it's like a hot waterbottle on a cold winter's night or a spoonful of tixylix after a syringefull of Beckett so yeah but no but yeah.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robin Meadows

    Oh dear. Almost everything I love about Nick Hornby is missing from this book. It's not offbeat or funny, I don't care what happens, and it doesn't say much about anything, and what it does say has already been said better by other writers. It feels like he thought, "Hmmm...time to write another book, let's see...I know! I have all these old photos.* I'll just toss them in the air and write a story that fits with how they land." *This book really is illustrated with old photos.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Lyn

    Did not want to put it down and when I did, I found myself not wanting to pick it back up. it was meh!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Megankellie

    I just saw Wild, which was probably one of my favorite movies of the year, that he wrote. I almost drove 2 hours to see Nick do a reading and to buy this book. This book was my most anticipated read in recent memory. I purchased it in hardback from a brick and mortar retail store. Expectation! The genderless parent of resentment. A fluffy, breezy, easy read. The most fleshed out characters are really the two writers of the fictional tv show in the book. And the BBC in the 60's. The most graphic s I just saw Wild, which was probably one of my favorite movies of the year, that he wrote. I almost drove 2 hours to see Nick do a reading and to buy this book. This book was my most anticipated read in recent memory. I purchased it in hardback from a brick and mortar retail store. Expectation! The genderless parent of resentment. A fluffy, breezy, easy read. The most fleshed out characters are really the two writers of the fictional tv show in the book. And the BBC in the 60's. The most graphic sexual encounter was between a gay(ish) man and his wife, and was described as lightly repellant and terrible. Meanwhile, the main character is going from repression to release and Hornby doesn't really go there at all. For the most part, she is very traditional, with traditional wholesome desires which are satisfied. The most inner life we get is between the two writers. I wonder if he had a different title for a while. I wonder if I were British, this would resonate a lot more with me. I mean I had to google "home counties." The whole time I had to remind myself that Sophia Vergara is very funny and gorgeous. The lead character in the book is gorgeous. It is extraordinarily rare that funny and gorgeous come together. I mean, rare. Very very rare. Is it because the free time you have as a gorgeous person is spent experiencing frottage or opening gifts? Instead of obsessive fears? Or getting into embroidery patterns of the vikings? Yes it is. Also having people laugh really hard at everything you say and then pelting you with wing men. This I know from the Halloween I dressed like Joan from Mad Men. i.e. the day I was the most beautiful. I kept waiting for him to get down to the core of his lead character, to really look out her eyeballs, and it seemed like she was foreign to him and not like someone he even really liked. She loved work, but he never dug into why and what that was really like for her. I mean I bet the right person could make you understand a deep, abiding, life-altering love of crickets. Without the explanation, it feels a little hollow. I guess I'm saying I wanted him to articulate something I can't. You want 1500 words why art, performance, tv and comedy is pointless dumb and self-indulgent? Give me 15 minutes. You can even play techno, have a live dog fight, and tweens doing flamenco and I could still write that with my non-dominant hand. I am too embarrassed about actually loving all of that horseshit, and it would be a public service if he could explain why. Also I have read a lot of exploration of being a closeted gay person, trapped in a marriage by society. It was interesting to see a marriage in the 60's where both parties knew there was a sexual disconnect and stuck it out anyway. That they decided it was a companionship marriage. It is a great tragedy that gay people would have to repress themselves, but sometimes I want to hear about the wives or the spouses. There's a very personal story there too, and it can feel like the spouse is an inhuman stand in for society. Not someone who's going through a kind of confusing, weird rejection of their own. Life is confusing. If you listen to the WTF podcast a lot, you know the average funny person is tortured. Basically if you know too much about this subject, you are going to be confused and want to have a long talk with Nick about why he wrote this book and what he was really interested in, which I think is the time period and those tv shows and the writers. And I mean, fair enough. But for a book called Funny Girl, we don't get to know the girls that well. If a woman truly doesn't want to be seen for her body, there are thousands of options open to her--primarily baggy clothes and the cumulative effects of sugar. Manage your expectation and this will be an enjoyable read. Basically: not for actors. Not for comedians. A quick read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Konna

    Read full review at: http://thereadingarmchair.blogspot.gr... Find out what all the shows mentioned in Funny Girl are about, in this Play(list) by the Book, a literary playlist: http://thereadingarmchair.blogspot.co... First of all, I loved the setting of this novel. The '60s for the British comedy fit perfectly the plot. Sophie Straw wanted only one thing: to make people laugh. But she was in a decade when they were all men. Tony, Ernie, Eric, Ernie... There was nobody called Lucy or Barbara in t Read full review at: http://thereadingarmchair.blogspot.gr... Find out what all the shows mentioned in Funny Girl are about, in this Play(list) by the Book, a literary playlist: http://thereadingarmchair.blogspot.co... First of all, I loved the setting of this novel. The '60s for the British comedy fit perfectly the plot. Sophie Straw wanted only one thing: to make people laugh. But she was in a decade when they were all men. Tony, Ernie, Eric, Ernie... There was nobody called Lucy or Barbara in that lot. There were no funny girls. Even her manager wanted her to pursue a career as a model, not star in a comedy series. It felt like a miracle of some sort that she managed to do so well. Although the title of the novel is Funny Girl, it's ultimately not only about Sophie. It's about five people getting together at the right time to create something innovative for television. Indeed Barbara (and Jim) was created when Tony and Bill met Sophie, their producer Dennis recognised the fresh idea and Clive saw his chance to become a tv star. Each one of them had their own lives and secrets, but they had found a point of communication that enabled them to reach success. As it usually happens in every relationship, this thing didn't last forever. Boredom, feelings of getting stuck, confusion of the fictional situations of the series with the reality were some of the things they all had to face. The writing was the typical writing style of Nick Hornby. Quick-witted, funny, easy-to-read, but able to reach into the heart of the characters. Sophie wasn't as funny as I was expecting, but she was very likeable. The rest of the characters were also unique, each with their own history and choices they needed to make. But what impressed me the most is the fact that this could actually be the story of how a television series was created. Barbara (and Jim) was fictional, but I could imagine a pilot episode airing in Comedy Playhouse and then go on for several seasons.

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