The Book Review
In hindsight, maybe I shouldn't have read two Nick Hornby books in a row. I picked up Juliet, Naked at the tail end of reading Fever Pitch, and it was a bit trippy. Juliet, Naked is basically a novel about Nick (I call him Nick, just... deal with it), and all of its three main characters reminded me of the man I had just read about in his memoir (yes, we all know that all his books are basically about himself). Duncan, the obsessive fan; Tucker, the artist questioning why everyone likes the art he created but hates; and Annie, who just wasted 15 years of her life and now desperately needs something new. So yes, it took me a while to get into it and relate to it. It's just that at first glance, Juliet, Naked is sort of meta, isn't it? I got a little sick of hearing Nick waxing poetic about the weirdest shit, like “For the best part of 40 years she had genuinely believed that not doing things would somehow prevent regret, when, of course, the exact opposite was true” and “The truth about life was that nothing ever ended until you died, and even then you just left a whole bunch of unresolved narratives behind you.” It felt a bit shallow and like Nick was just hoping he'd be quoted on Instagram.
Things finally got good and less "quotable" when Annie finally meets Tucker. From that part on, I started to actually care about what was happening to those characters. The romance element of this story was incredibly naive (maybe Nick has been writing too many movies and lost his touch?), but the friendship between Annie and Tucker felt real, and I enjoyed reading and waiting to see what happened.
Overall, I did like Juliet, Naked, but necessarily because of the plot itself, but because it was just a flowery and complicated essay on art. What it means to people who experience it and to the people who create it. I found myself often thinking of my musical idol, Noel Gallagher from Oasis, and how growing up the songs he wrote meant something to me that years later I found meant something completely different to him.
(I don't know how I always end up talking about Oasis when I talk about Nick Hornby).
The Quote (I almost didn't want to do one this time...)
The Cover Redesign
I had two things in mind for this redesign: the first one was that I wanted it to match the template I started with Fever Pitch, with the solid black background and the minimal look; and the second one was that I wanted it to be about art. I liked the idea of this conversation we were reading in which, yes, in very basic concepts, we explore the idea of creation and authorship. So I didn't want it to be about music, but about visual art. And I wanted it to be quite literal, with the classic Aphrodite statue, naked. I don't know if it is because art (sometimes) makes you feel "naked" in a way, raw and exposed. And then I added some fun shapes on the back, because I can't take anything too seriously, it's just not me. And in true Nick Hornby fashion, this is all about me.