Funny Girl is funny-man author Nick Hornby’s latest novel after a considerable break. Written with his usual charm and sense of humour, Funny Girl thankfully lives up to its name.
Set in the 1960s, Funny Girl centres around Barbara Parker – an (almost) Miss Blackpool who wants to be known for more than her smile and her décolletage. You see, Barbara Parker’s heroine is Lucille Ball – a woman who is known not only for her beautiful looks, but also for her comic timing and acting chops too.
After moving to London, changing her name to Sophie Straw (far more fashionable, you see) and landing a spot in one of BBC’s Playhouse shows, in the blink of an eye Sophie/Barbara seems to become famous.
In terms of plot and intrigue, there isn’t much of it on offer in Funny Girl. After a brief spell of not being famous, suddenly all of Sophie’s dreams seem to come true, and there’s little of the ‘tough work’ that is often displayed in this type of story. That’s fine though, because Nick Horny isn’t known for his spell-binding storylines, he’s known for his wit and use of dialogue. In a nutshell, you aren’t going to be breaking a mental sweat over his novels, and Funny Girl lives up that the reputation.
However, in terms of dialogue, Funny Girl does not disappoint. I found it quite easy to read fifty pages of Funny Girl without realising it, simply because I had become absorbed in the banter that went to and from Sophie and her co-star Clive. And while on paper (boom-dish) the plot of Funny Girl doesn’t seem like much, it is this banter of mostly not much that makes it such a fun and compelling read.
Nick Hornby doesn’t disappoint with his latest offering, and though it may have been a while since he last released a novel, thankfully his own brand of humour and quick-witted dialogue is still around. If you’ve read any of his previous works, particularly High Fidelity, then I would definitely recommend Funny Girl. If you’re on holiday and you’d like a laugh, then, guess what, I’d recommend Funny Girl. And if you’re after a piece of high brow literature that allows you to show off to your friends and get your brain cells ticking into overtime, then, well, don’t read Funny Girl.
Have you read Funny Girl? Are you a fan of Nick Hornby? Let me know!