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Summary

The person you are with is just like you: same background, same age, same interests. The perfect match. And it is an unmitigated disaster. 

Then, when and where you least expect it, you meet someone new. You seem to have nothing in common and yet, somehow, it feels totally right.

Nick Hornby's brilliantly observed, tender but also brutally funny new novel gets to the heart of what it means to fall surprisingly and headlong in love with the best possible person - someone who is not just like you at all.

©2020 Nick Hornby (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Just Like You

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

TV drama-ready!

42 year-old Lucy is Head of English as well as raising her two young boys and living through the final stages of her divorce from an alcoholic husband. She's comfortably off living in a 'nice' middle class white area of the city. In the local butcher's shop where loud-voiced women queue for their £100 worth of fillet steak and marinaded chicken pieces, Joseph works as one of his part-time aimless jobs. He's a 22 year old young black man living with his Christian church-going mum. Lucy's action which follows and on which pivots the whole of the novel's story is totally unrealistic. She asks Joseph to come and look after her two sons whilst she goes out to dinner one evening (do middle class mothers really invite completely unknown men into their homes to look after their children, whatever their colour or culture??) Anyway, from this initial baby-sitting evening, their relationship develops, ending (after a raft of totally predictable difficulties and embarrassments), in Joseph living in as Lucy's 'boyfriend', loved by her two boys for his cool knowledge of football & X-box, living each day as it comes, enjoying being each other, having sex and watching The Sopranos for as long as it may last. Taken as a gentle love story and not taken too seriously, it's bold, quite touching in places, filled with cringe-making social occasions where the differences between the two are played out, and the typical Nick Hornby screen-play dialogue is fast (and brilliantly narrated) and in places funny. It will / would makes a great TV drama. BUT I have two important criticisms which is why I've given it only a 3. The first is the setting: 2016 Referendum time. There's FAR too much about the divisions caused by the Referendum Vote all of which were played out ad nauseam at the time until over-ridden by Covid. We've HEARD and experienced ALL these views and conflicts and certainly I don't want to listen to them rehearsed again and again as they are throughout this novel. The gaping cultural voids between Lucy and Joseph's worlds are obvious enough and plentifully detailed. They would have been much sharper without all this endless stuff about Brexit, Leavers and Remainers. It just makes the novel tired and tedious - even in the touching Epilogue set in 2019 Hornby's characters are still banging on about Brexit. The other shortcoming I felt was that some of the potentially serious divisions caused by Lucy and Joseph's relationship were left dangling undeveloped - presumably in the interest of keeping this novel something of a light-hearted romp. What happened between Lucy and her parents after that meeting when they were left reeling having learned of their daughter's choice of partner? And what happened to Lucy's school reputation after the Head teacher was clearly unhappy that Lucy's classes were all in raptures of gob-smacked amazement at their Head of English having sex with, as they were saying, a 17 year-old black boy? How did that play out? For me, I'd have liked the entire Brexit theme to have been junked and a more serious development of the reality of the situation. But it's a brave scenario which throws up plenty to think and talk about. I'm looking forward to that tv drama.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Latest Nick Hornby novel is up with his best work

In a recent interview Nick Hornby lamented the fact the 80% of readers of novels are women but his books Fever Pitch (football), High Fidelity (music), About of Boy (coming of age) are mostly read by men. His latest novel, Just Like You is a kind of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner for the 21st century and covers the themes of age gap relationships, race and class. Possibly most uncomfortable and controversial of all, the novel is set in 2016 in the midst of the UK Brexit referendum with its associated tribe like mentality and accusations of lies, fear, stupidity and racism. This is a heart warming story of the complications of modern life and how love always wins in the end. Excellent as always from Nick Hornby and this is a story that would appeal to anyone. 5 stars.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Poor plot outline

Had the plot outline told me this was a story about Brexit & Racial stereotyping then I’d have given it a wide berth. Please do better Audible.

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  • Ms
  • 10-10-20

Stronger together

Loverly gentle read. Laughed out loud. I cringed when I recognise myself. The story and characters helped me to get over that embarrassment as they did there’s. Uplifting relaxing thought provoking. Expect this to be a film one day.

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Boring people talk about brexit!

A boring English teacher and a boring butcher slash DJ talk about brexit. I've had root canals that were more fub!

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Cynical Cash in

I’ve read and listened to audible version of all Nick Hornby books to date and am Definitely a fan. This though, is a cynical cheap by the numbers cash in on currently topical issues. If you weren’t already brow beaten enough by Brexit, BLM and Me too chatter everywhere you look this might finish you off. It’s inane, simpering and tired in every respect, supposedly shining a light on racial stereotyping and female empowerment within his typical relationshippy backdrop and I found it truly infuriating. There are a great many superb books available that give great insights on Racism and sexism all written by people who have been affected by those things directly, but this is a cynical attempt to cash in on subjects currently popular from an author who has had extraordinary success doing what he does best for many years. This isn’t it! Hugely disappointed and annoyed.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

romcom

it has a few good jokes, the characters are mostly likeable and the unlikeable ones are supposed to be. But it precisely follows the story arc for a romcom, Inc the problems, the rows, the reconciliation the 'reason why this can't work.' So ok but as predictable as an eggtimer.