When I asked Kaiti from HarperCollins Canada for a jaw-dropping emotional smorgasbord of a book, she sent over a copy of Us by David Nicholls. She warned me of the sadness and tenderness that this novel encompasses but I don’t think it prepared me enough for the outcome.
Douglas Peterson is the narrator of the story. He reminded me of genetics professor Don Tillman from The Rosie Project; quirky, brilliant, a little weird, and loveable beyond all measure. Us follows his journey nay, mission to keep his family together. After nearly twenty-five years of a happy marriage, Connie (his wife), turns to him one night in bed and says that she thinks she wants to leave him when their son goes off to university. Douglas does not see this coming and vows that on their last family trip across Europe he will mend his relationship with his wife and create a better relationship with his son Albie. He’s a thinker, a fighter, and in spite of his shortcomings, he loves his wife more than anything.
The fact was I loved my wife to a degree that I found impossible to express, and so rarely did.
(Page 27 of the ARC)
What you endure while reading this novel is nothing short of breathtaking. Douglas’s walks down memory lane, his awkward moments with his wife and son while in Europe, and his regrettable mistakes make him the most loveable character I’ve ever encountered. He is very much himself and David Nicholls has a wonderful way of bringing his voice to life. I found myself writing all over my copy of this book. I love all kinds of love, I love family and relationships, and I love hope and change. So every single time I found a line I wanted to remember, I circled it, highlighted it, and read it aloud to my mom.
Still, as the decade drew to a close things were clearly happening, albeit elsewhere and to other people, and I quietly wondered if a change was due in my life, too, and how I might bring that about.
(page 10 of the arc)
The fact of the matter is that life is full of changes, ones that you have control over and ones that you don’t. David Nicholls has a brilliant way of examining these changes and portraying them with brutal and loving honesty. I think anyone who has ever been in a relationship can gain something from reading Us. Even those who haven’t will undoubtedly learn something about themselves and the way that this crazy world works.
‘Why would you want to have the same experience as everyone else? Why join the herd?’
(Page 71 of the ARC)