I'm afraid to admit I don't read books all that often. However, facing a three hour flight delay in Chicago the other weekend, I was pretty much out of options, so I went over to the newsstand and picked up a copy of Nick Hornby's newest, A Long Way Down. I feel a bit silly writing about books, since I have very little to compare them to, but I liked this one for the most part. It's not nearly as depressing as the title and premise make it seem. Four people from very different walks of life meet and become unlikely friends on the top of a building on New Years Eve, all with the intent of killing themselves. The story is told from the rotating perspective of each of the characters.
I enjoyed it. At least, I was finding myself laying on my bed reading, rather than sitting at my computer, watching TV, playing video games, etc. So I guess that's a good thing. The first part (of three) was by far the strongest, introducing the characters to each other and watching the relationships develop. But after the first 120 or so pages, it seemed like we were left with these great characters and the author just was looking for something to do with them to fill out the story. The rest of the book was filled with these little anecdotes and adventures that never seemed nearly as poignant as their initial meeting was. I would have preferred (and was expecting) the book to have played out over one night, since surely four suicidal people could get themselves into enough trouble over the course of an evening to fill a book.
For what it was, however, it's a good story that kept me reading. Seeing that I've given up on nearly every book I've started since, well, High Fidelity, I think that's saying something. I'd recommend it.
Also, for the review I wish I could have written, check out No Milk Please's take on the book. I think he pretty much nailed it.