- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Books; Unabridged edition (February 3, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594205418
- ISBN-13: 978-1594205415
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (413 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
Funny Girl Hardcover – February 3, 2015
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2015: No, Nick Hornby’s latest is not a retelling of the story made famous by the old Barbara Streisand movie called Funny Girl – but the allusion to pop culture of the 1960s in this delightful novel is not coincidental. On the surface, this Funny Girl is about a working class English girl who comes of age as a TV star in the days of Carnaby Street, the Beatles, and the musical Hair; what it’s also about is the way the world turned over for everybody – but especially actors and writers -- in that explosive era. Sophie Straw is the gorgeous girl from Blackpool who, like Lucille Ball (to whom Hornby slyly introduces the starstruck Sophie in a late scene), is originally deemed too pretty to be funny; like Ball, she manages through wit, decency and pratfall to become her nation’s sweetheart. She’s a great character, and readers – like everyone in swinging London – will love her. But if Sophie is the star, the rest of the population here – the hilariously narcissistic lover/co-star, the director who pines for Sophie for years, and, my favorite, the writers who give her her vehicles – are exceptional supporting players. And Hornby, who was a bit of a pop culture wunderkind himself, is wise about the way artists’ (especially writers’) careers morph and change, and what it’s like to define a cultural moment and then watch yourself live past it. -- Sara Nelson
Praise for Funny Girl
“As befits a novel about a popular sitcom, this novel packs in lots of laughs, but it’s also got more heft than Mr. Hornby’s readers may expect." —The New York Times
"A smart comic novel that... induces binge-reading that's the literary equivalent of polishing off an entire television series in one weekend." —NPR
“Engaging...Hornby’s fictionalized evocation of the era is spot-on.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Funny and fast moving, perceptive and sharp.” —Los Angeles Times
”At its best moments, Hornby’s novel shows precisely the same quality [as the best television comedy].” – The Boston Globe
"Hornby's fluency in script-like breeziness and crisp banter makes Funny Girl a pleasurable read. So does page after page of perfectly timed and delivered humor, the subtle and understated kind, that starts with the first line.” – USA Today
"[Hornby’s] most ambitious novel to date... he makes the reader care for his characters as much as he does.”—Starred Kirkus Review
“[A] light, fond, funny tale by the author of About a Boy…[a] fizzy delight about the likable oddballs who populate showbiz.” —People
“Theera and the theme (surfing the crest of a revolution, then getting dumped in its wake) are pure Mad Men, but the pulpy warmth and sprightly dialogue are classic Hornby.” —Vulture
"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
"Endearing, humorous and touching. Hugely enjoyable." —Sunday Mirror
“…As with any Hornby book, you’ll close [Funny Girl] thinking it’s his best.” —Metro
“Hornby has transplanted us into an era where funny was also controversial. He allows us to see beyond the actors, but to the creation as a whole—the lives on screen as well as those off." —Books & Whatnot
“A sweet sojourn to 1960s London... [Hornby] has a knack for crackling dialogue and well-defined characters." —The Associated Press
"[Funny Girl] fits squarely in Hornby’s tradition of offering quality entertainment that respects readers’ intelligence without making novels feel like homework. Consider it comfort food, prepared by a master.” —Christian Science Monitor
“Fast, funny, and real.” –Lev Grossman for TIME
“[FUNNY GIRL] skips effortlessly like a stone skimmed across the water… it’s hard to put down.” –Newsweek
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
And yet, halfway through the book I began to realize that charm and nostalgia will get you just so far, and I worried there wasn't enough depth or conflict to sustain me to the last page. Worries that soon proved themselves valid.
A lot of the responsibility for this lies with our heroine, the aforementioned "funny girl". Her name's Barbara, soon to become Sophie, and...
1. She's gorgeous- you will read a lot about this in a lot of ways. .
2. Every one loves her- you will also read a lot about this, in the form of characters (mostly men)thinking how bewitching she is.
3. She's very talented and focused on her craft.
4. She's nobody's fool.
And...there's not much else to her really. Part of the charm of a character who wants to be funny rather than beautiful is the implication that while others are focused on surface and beauty, she cares about making people laugh, giving them joy in their struggles, answering a call to something more meaningful. And yet, Sophie is mostly surface, and seems just fine with that. And so are all the men bewitched by her. And no, this is presented with a sense of irony or a peek at another time, but instead one gets the sense that the writer himself is in love with Sophie and needs her to be nothing more than pretty and agreeable. But readers may want more. And they may find a growing distaste for a character who is not only shallow, but pretty cavalier about dating married men and struggles very little to achieve her dreams before they are plopped down before her (presumably because of points 1-4 above) completely depriving the reader of any chance to empathize with her.
Interestingly enough, one of the main issues the book seems to address is whether or not entertainment needs to be relevant and somewhat thorny to have true value. But it's the men in the story who wrestle with this question. Sophie is merely their muse. The Princess they all swarm around and whose favor they fight to win. As a result, each character has a kind of mini-climax, and a minor arc, because all the weight is spread amongst them rather than giving the heft to the person who should have it, Sophie. When Sophie's climax does come it drops in with all the foreshadowing and impact of a sun shower.
Maybe the movie adaptation will work better (indeed, much of this book is structured in such a way that it feels like an easy reformat and a capable actress may be able to provide the depth that Hornby doesn't) but while "Funny Girl" is a wonderful piece of nostalgic escapism, reading it is akin to eating a lovely looking piece of candy, the filling of which is mostly air.
A bit of background so that this review may actually be helpful. About a Boy (good, but the movie was better), High Fidelity (great), How to Be Good (pretty good), Slam (not good), A Long Way Down (meh), Juliet Naked (perfect).
As other reviewers have noted (with varying degrees of love or hate), Hornby's approach is a bit different this time around, and the book feels like it was written by someone a bit more mature and taking a more reflective view on life. Nonetheless, all of the bits that typically make Hornby's novels such an enjoyable read are here: interesting characters, a story that keeps the pages turning, humor and understanding. Not at the level of Juliet, Naked, but one of Hornby's best!