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JUST LIKE YOU
September 29, 2020
Lucy used to handle her adult romantic life according to the script she’d been handed. She met a guy just like herself: same age, same background, same hopes and dreams; they got married and started a family. Too bad he made her miserable. Now, two decades later, she’s a nearly-divorced, forty-one-year-old schoolteacher with two school-aged sons, and there is no script anymore.
So when she meets Joseph, she isn’t exactly looking for love—she’s more in the market for a babysitter. Joseph is twenty-two, living at home with his mother, and working several jobs, including the butcher counter where he and Lucy meet. It’s not a match anyone one could have predicted. He’s of a different class, a different culture, and a different generation. But sometimes it turns out that the person who can make you happiest is the one you least expect, though it can take some maneuvering to see it through.
Nick Hornby is, of course, the author of many a classic, like About a Boy and High Fidelity. He’s pretty much an expert at creating clever, endearing, down-to-earth, observant, and just slightly damaged characters who you can’t help but love.
Lucy and Joseph are no different. The interesting thing about this book, though, is that the relationship between Lucy and Joseph is more of a main character than either of them individually. This book is about a Them. It considers what makes relationships work, what’s important, what’s sustaining. I loved the exploration of connection, humor, race, communication, sex, and friendship. All of it felt believable to me, and sympathetic. And while neither Lucy nor Joseph is perfect, I had no trouble rooting for both of them. The ending took me by surprise, too, which is always a plus.
This ended up being a fun, thoughtful read for me. I blew through it in a couple days. Also, can we just talk about how pretty this cover is? I have always loved pink and orange together. Reminds me of the sherbet ice cream I used to eat as a kid waaaaay back in the day. I’M OLD.