Author Recommendation: Nick Hornby

Shocker of all shockers but this author DOESN’T come from the great state of Nebraska (like my last two did without me trying). In fact he comes from across “the pond.” This month’s author recommendation is for British author and screenwriter Nick Hornby.

Hornby is most known for his memoir “Fever Pitch,” and his novels “High Fidelity” and “About a Boy” (all three of which were turned into feature films, with “Fever Pitch” being turned into both a British-produced movie and an American one). In recent years Hornby has made a name for himself as a screenwriter by adapting two different memoirs. Being that he first wrote the screenplay for his own memoir (the British version of “Fever Pitch” starring Colin Firth) adapting memoirs to the screen was a natural fit. He adapted Lynn Barber’s memoir “An Education” in 2009 (made into a film with Carey Mulligan) and Cheryl Strayed’s memoir “Wild” in 2014 (made into a film starring Reese Witherspoon). He was nominated for an Oscar for “An Education.” In 2015 he wrote the screenplay for another big Hollywood film, “Brooklyn.”

What I find captivating about Hornby in his earlier career is he was very much a GUY writing about GUY THINGS (love of sports, women & music). His memoir “Fever Pitch” was all about his love for a football/soccer team (Arsenal) and his first novel is about how the main character ranks his life in “Top 5” lists much like you would your “Top 5 Favorite Songs” and his pursuit of an ex-girlfriend. And then as Hornby’s voice as a writer grew stronger he didn’t have to lean on the crutches of his personality or personal interests. Instead he could completely tell another person’s story from a totally different perspective from his own. That’s not to say he disappears in a bad way. He’s there silently supporting his characters so they can tell their story. And what’s also interesting is that his later screenplays like “An Education,” “Wild,” “Brooklyn,” and later novels like “Juliet, Naked” and “Funny Girl” are based around female protagonists. That really is a skill that not a lot writers can do: write believably from the perspective of the opposite sex.

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In 2017 when I read over 200 books I read Hornby’s 2014 novel “Funny Girl.” I so appreciated Hornby’s voice at that time (as I always do). It’s clear and precise when he’s writing characters he’s created or adapting the work of others. The strength of his voice really stood out as unique and wonderful when I was reading a lot other writers in succession. I really can’t recommend his work highly enough. I look forward to what he does in the future. Some would say I’m waiting with great anticipation and working myself up into a Fever Pitch (sorry). 🤦🏻‍♀️

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