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Funny Girl

Funny Girl [Kindle Edition]

Nick Hornby
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £17.21
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Product Description


A thoroughly enjoyable read ... a witty look at a pivotal point in British popular culture (Sunday Times)

Beautifully captures the thrill of youthful success and of discovering your own talent (Daily Telegraph)

Funny Girl may be read as Hornby's latest defence of popular entertainment against high-culture elitism. Funny Girl makes his case for him eloquently and entertainingly ... both hugely enjoyable and deceptively artful (Spectator)

I loved this hymn to the 1960s, their infinite creative possibilities (Scotsman)

Vivid, sparky, a bit schmaltzy, and it rattles along (Independent)

Endearing, humorous and touching. Hugely enjoyable (Sunday Mirror)

Product Description

Funny Girl - the much-anticipated new novel by Nick Hornby, the million-copy bestselling author of About a Boy

Make them laugh, and they're yours forever . . .

It's the swinging 60s and the nation is mesmerized by unlikely comedy star Sophie Straw, the former Blackpool beauty queen who just wants to make people laugh, like her heroine Lucille Ball.

Behind the scenes, the cast and crew are having the time of their lives. But when the script begins to get a bit too close to home, and life starts imitating art, they all face a choice.

The writers, Tony and Bill, comedy obsessives, each harbour a secret. The Oxbridge-educated director, Dennis, loves his job but hates his marriage. The male star Clive, feels he's destined for better things. And Sophie Straw, who's changed her name and abandoned her old life, must decide whether to keep going, or change the channel.

Nick Hornby's new novel is about popular culture, youth and old age, fame, class and teamwork. It offers a wonderfully captivating portrait of youthful exuberance and creativity, and of a period when both were suddenly allowed to flourish. Fans of Hornby will love this book, as will readers of David Nicholls, Mark Haddon and William Boyd.

Nick Hornby is the author of five bestselling novels (High Fidelity, About a Boy, How To Be Good, A Long Way Down and Juliet, Naked), a novel for young adults, Slam, and four works of acclaimed non-fiction: Fever Pitch, 31 Songs, The Complete Polysyllabic Spree and Stuff I've Been Reading. A Long Way Down, About a Boy, High Fidelity and Fever Pitch have all been made into major films. He also wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-nominated An Education, and is currently writing screenplays for Cheryl Strayed's Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, and Colm Toibin's Brooklyn.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6353 KB
  • Print Length: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (6 Nov 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #367 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Nick Hornby was born in 1957, and is the author of six novels, High Fidelity, About a Boy, How To Be Good, A Long Way Down (shortlisted for the Whitbread Award)Slam and Juliet, Naked. He is also the author of Fever Pitch, a book on his life as a devoted supporter of Arsenal Football Club, and has edited the collection of short stories Speaking with the Angel. He has written a book about his favourite songs, 31 Songs, and his reading habits,The Complete Polysyllabic Spree. In 2009 he wrote the screenplay for the film An Education. Nick Hornby lives and works in Highbury, north London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boy, Funny Girl's Good 12 Nov 2014
By J. Wise
SOME say Nick Hornby is the best writer in Britain right now, even better than all those top literary types yer intellectuals fawn over. Those who doubt the truth of that should give his latest a go – it may be beyond doubt with this gem.
The scene is the Sixties and the popular TV comedies that had the nation glued to their sets and guffawing on their sofas.
Bursting into the era comes a busty Northern lass with a gift for comedy. She’s soon linked up with a couple of scriptwriters and a producer. Barbara becomes the main attraction in Barbara (and Jim) and before you know it she’s a household name.
Those of a certain age will recall how huge a thing that was in those days, and how iconic characters like her were. Acts like The Likely Lads, Till Death Us Do Part, Morecambe and Wise and such were not the flash-in-the-pans of today’s Big Brother era. But Funny Girl will appeal to all ages, which is where the genius of Hornby comes in. The story draws you along with the warmth of its characters, its quietly observed human touches, the gentle failings and hopes of its subjects and the familiarity of its surroundings. Then, without you even knowing how or where it happened, you’re ‘feeling’ genuine hurt or sadness, and the sort of problems we can all understand.
For all the others’ skills there’s no-one quite able to do that the way this guy does. The age old tip to write what you know has never been more aptly displayed than here. Nick Hornby knows humanity, and Funny Girl could not be more human.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Geoff P
This novel is supposedly set in the sixties, though the setting consists mainly of dropping some famous names and letting that do the work. "Hi I'm Keith from the Yardbirds" is supposed to conjure up sounds and memories of 60s music with Keith Relf fronting that iconic band. In fact it tells you nothing about Keith, the Yardbirds or the 60s. Hornby doesn't even try to build any kind of character.
And that applies to his lead characters too: they are simply one-dimensional.
Sophie is the dizzyish but talented one who gets a lucky break and she's nothing else. Clive is the creepy womaniser and nothing else. Dennis is calm and mousy and nothing else. If you're looking for character development, other facets than the obvious ones, then forget it.
The story line is equally tedious and mundane - okay if you've got a few hours to kill, a bit like watching a soap but without the drama. Girl moves to London, gets a lucky break etc (I'll not spoil the story just in case you do read it) but if you do finish this book, then you'll wonder why you bothered.
It will sell because it's Nick Hornby but I'd recommend you forget it and read something else. If you've not yet tried Anthony Trollope, all his books are free on the web and infinitely richer and more enjoyable than this stuff. Start with Ralph the Heir - it'll have you laughing and crying at the same time - laughing at Ralph's antics and foolishness, and weeping with despair at the human condition.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars warm and insightful 9 Nov 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Barabara is an aspirational woman inspired by Lucille Ball. She is determined to leave the ties of small town life her family try to hold her with. this is the story of how she encounters the world of 1960 sitcom comedy. beautifully written characters that feel familiar; although ive never worked in tv i felt Hornby understood the suffocation some women feel by low expectations; i remember how comedy sitcoms were like a religion and i could feel the challenges of ageing that the author captures perfectly.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved this book 12 Nov 2014
By ab
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Crackling with great dialogue, great characters and a wonderful feel of a particular era, with a sharp eye for class barriers. I didn't want it to end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Extremely boring 18 Nov 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought something was missing too. Extremely boring read
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! 11 Nov 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Cute, funny, a romp. And actually far more serious than it appears on the surface...I was really sorry to leave them all at the end.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Golden Years 22 Nov 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Nick Hornby's new novel is about situation comedy. It is like it's subject - engaging and entertaining, a straightforward and enjoyable read. The author pays homage to what many saw as a golden age of British television.

The "funny girl" of the title is the star of Barbara (and Jim), a pathbreaking (and fictional) programme of the 1960s. The novel accords significant parts to her fellow actors, the script writers and the producer. We also meet real figures from the BBC of the time. Brief guest appearances are made by George Best, Jimmy Page and many more.

England was changing. Fashion, music, politics, literature - and television. The tale of this imagined sit com is rendered with utter plausibility. Hornby's experience as a film writer bears fruit when he describes the team wrestling with lines and plots. As in his other novels he gets the details of popular culture spot on - Lucille Ball's dress sense, Harold Wilson's early dementia. Photographs of the time add to the authenticity. Perhaps too fresh to be a historical novel?

But this is more than fictionalized history. The author gets beneath the skin of his characters. Their pains and pleasures, hopes and fears, ups and downs - we can relate to them all. Just like the characters they play in Barbara (and Jim).

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