OK so a few weeks ago I read Starter For Ten by David Nicholls, not sure now if I blogged about it but my word it was awesome and hilariously funny! having heard already that it was deeply hysterical I also bought The understudy and One Day by the same author. I read SFT and although couldn’t wait to read another Nicholls book I know there can be too much of a good thing so started reading something else. When I finished reading The Story Sisters I realised that I needed to read something that I know would be good just because that was so awesome so I picked up The Understudy.
Having always heard good things about Nicholls, his books and SFT explicitly I knew The Understudy would be pretty damn good. What I wasn’t expecting however was for it to be even better than Starter for Ten! That book was awesome but it felt a little out of place for me because I couldn’t work out what kinda of era it was set. I know it was meant to be the 80;s but I’m a little too young for that so didn’t quite understand! However The Understudy, WOW, it could be set at any time, as long as films were around, I think anyone around these days can relate to it. Stephen Mcqueen, with a ph, makes an awesome main character just because he’s a regular nice guy trying to fulfil his dreams! You follow the character on the everyday run of his life and its just really funny to see the situations he gets himself into and the hilarity of his situation is really put across well. Of course you probably wouldn’t like to be in his situation but never mind its funny to see others in it!
His situation is this; he’s divorced to the woman of his dreams who he still loves. He has a 7 year old girl who he gets to take out on day trips because shes scared of his “studio apartment” (bedsit). He is an actor though his biggest selling movie is one where hes dressed up as a 6 foot squirell singing kids songs and hes understudying for a handsome famous (English) actor. Not to give too much away but various different drunken, and sometimes sober, episodes land him in various different hilarious situations where, as a reader, your quite often smacking your own head going “you fool Stephen!”
The handsome famous actor that Stephen is understudying is also a brilliant comic character. He falls in the category of famous fool and reminds me quite clearly of the footballers/actors/various famous men that appear in the daily newspapers in England. The idea that he’s just so irresistible but in reality he’s a bit of a prick and you’d be mad to be married to him!
Again I don’t want to give too much away but I seriously think that the book is worth a read. Although its 400 and odd pages it really didn’t seem that long and I think I read about 100 last night purely cos I couldn’t wait to find out how it finished. The ending is surprising to say the least and a little out of character. It made me a little sad in a way because Stephen kinda does what I didn’t think his character would but also it makes you happy too. If you want a real laugh out loud book that will make you a little sad and a tad embarrassed but meanwhile also make you nearly wet yourself laughing I really think this is the best book, that fits the bill, I’ve read in ages!