Funny Girl: A Novel
by Nick Hornby
Amazon rating
Critique Circle rating 
PublisherRiverhead Books
Release Date2016-02-02 (added to CC 8 Mar 2018)
Amazon Sales Rank286,961
A brilliant novel from the bestselling author of High FidelityAbout a Boy, and A Long Way Down.

Set in 1960's London, Funny Girl is a lively account of the adventures of the intrepid young Sophie Straw as she navigates her transformation from provincial ingénue to television starlet amid a constellation of delightful characters. Insightful and humorous, Nick Hornby's latest does what he does best: endears us to a cast of characters who are funny if flawed, and forces us to examine ourselves in the process.

From the Hardcover edition.

Member Reviews
(15 Mar 2018)
Breezy re-imagining of a fictional BBC series in the 1960s that might have been considered groundbreaking in that era, but was definitely of that era. The story itself is mildly interesting, and there are some parallels with actual British TV in the 1960s that some might find amusing. The characters, however, are fairly well-drawn, and the dialogue is pretty nicely done. One might find it dialogue-heavy — this is one of those books where spoken scenes draw out far longer than may be warranted by their place in the story, which serves some discomfort at having to explain some weirdly obvious ideas about the TV business in this era, but ends up adding to the characterization.

There are moments in this book that feel defiantly out of place, and the author has gone to some length in real life to defend some of his stylistic and narrative choices. We mostly follow Barbara, an actress-pretty pageant winner from the North who buffaloes hapless London TV producers into giving her a job simply because she refuses to be anything other than who she is. We also somewhat follow the rest of the production team, two writers, an actor, and a producer, although their stories as presented are significantly less compelling and extended scenes without Barbara suffer for that. This is a very light, very pleasant piece of borrowed nostalgia that similarly doesn't aspire to to be anything else, and succeeds.
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