Format: Audio (BorrowBox)
Read: March 2023
This more of a 3.5 stars. I listened on audiobook (read fabulously by Carey Mulligan) while stuck on the coach for 3 hours to and then back from London. If I had tried to read it on the page I may have felt different on a few points.
I read, and really enjoyed, The Humans many years ago now, and this latest novel again has Matt Haig’s very straightforward storytelling and writing style.
It is an inspiring story if you are in the right frame of mind for it but I would caution it is very much one you need the right mood for. It is definitely heavy-handed with its message, there is no nuance here! You will get beaten over the head. Consequently, that makes the plot very predictable and also nothing that feels original.
While most of the characters do feel like realistic people however I got pretty sick at after a while of all the amazing natural talents that Nora has (attractive, extremely intelligent, amazing memory, music, writing, swimming… It’s a lot, just pick one!)… If she’s so amazing and can’t get her shit together, what good for those of us who will never be anything other than average?!
The message of the book is that you need to connect with other people to feel happier and improve your outlook. In a world where many people are lonely and isolated not by their own choice, I don’t know if the message will be of comfort to everyone. I have been depressed and felt entirely alone, misunderstood and forgotten. If I had read this then, I think it would have made me feel more alone and hopeless.
For that reason I would not recommend this to somebody who is currently in the mire of depression and loneliness. But if you are in a stronger mental state it’s worth a read.