*sigh* I picked up Starter for Ten by David Nicholls because I loved One Day. Wrong move I’m afraid. It wasn’t a bad book, it was just quite ordinary.
If you want the nitty-gritty, you can read the book blurb here or you can simply accept my summary: nerdy, somewhat gauche boy with bad skin falls in love with the most-popular-girl and meanwhile less-popular-but-lovely-on-the-inside-girl is waiting in the wings. I think you know what happens.
Nicholls adds some nice details to set the scene, notably 1985 (lots of references to Kate Bush and mix-tapes); the main characters appearing on British TV quiz show University Challenge; and the experiences that go with first year university (if I put my ordinary mattress on the ground, does that make it a futon? No. And is a home brew kit a good investment? Depends).
“Then she starts to dance. They’re playing ‘Love Cats’ by The Cure, and in a witty and incisive interpretation of the song’s lyric, she’s dancing a little bit like a cat, bored and aloof and supple, with one arm occasionally flung up above her head like a, well, like a cat’s tail! She is the most amazing dancer in the world!….and she is so wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully pretty, and an idea hits me, a plan so beautiful in its simplicity and yet so ingenious an infallible, that I’m amazed I haven’t thought of it before. Dance! I will woo her through the medium of contemporary dance.”
I think we can all agree that no one wins with wooing ‘through the medium of contemporary dance’. And let’s just leave it there.
2/5 Some funny scenes saved me from merely skimming.
Take Starter for Ten with some plain biscuits –
“…before we go and kick some ass, we have a cup of tea and some plain biscuits, then I go to the gents’ and wash my armpits with liquid soap and start to feel a little better.”