Books Magazine

Talking About Us by David Nicholls with Chrissi Reads

By Bibliobeth @bibliobeth1


What’s it all about?:

‘I was looking forward to us growing old together. Me and you, growing old and dying together.’

‘Douglas, who in their right mind would look forward to that?’

Douglas Petersen understands his wife’s need to ‘rediscover herself’ now that their son is leaving home.

He just thought they’d be doing their rediscovering together.

So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again.

The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed.

What could possibly go wrong?

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: How do you think this book compares to the author’s highly successful book ‘One Day?’

BETH: Gosh, that’s a tricky one! Okay, so in this novel I felt like we got to see a more “grown-up” view of love and marriage than in One Day where it felt like it was targeted at a young-ish audience. I’m not sure why I felt this, perhaps because the characters in this novel, Douglas and Connie are slightly older (although we do hear from their younger selves also). I can’t really choose between the books as to which I liked better as I liked both novels for different reasons.

BETH: The novel is all about the complexities of the relationship between husband and wife. Can we ever really understand other people’s relationships?

CHRISSI: No, I don’t think we can understand other people’s relationships, simply because we’re not inside their hearts. We’re not with them every moment of their relationship. We can never truly know how a person feels because we’re not that person. We may think that we know how our friend or family member feels, but we can never really understand it because we’re not fully a part of it!

CHRISSI: This is a relationship novel told from the man’s point of view – does this make a difference to the way you view the story?

BETH: Yes, I think so. Throughout the novel even though we go backwards and forwards in time we only hear the story from Douglas’ point of view and through his eyes. This automatically means that we’ve only heard one side of the story. If we had heard what Connie felt or how their son Albie felt in certain circumstances perhaps you would get a whole different range of emotions or reactions as a reader. I do think the author did an amazing job of presenting the story fairly and I think Douglas always knew deep down if he had wronged, although perhaps he was surprised at certain times of how he had been perceived or how he had acted.

BETH: Albie/Egg has quite a difficult relationship with his father. Can you understand why and do you feel optimistic for their future?

CHRISSI: I could understand why. Some people aren’t natural parents, no matter how much they want to be. At the end of the day we are all different individuals and we don’t always connect well with each other. That’s just a fact of life for me. So I could totally understand. I don’t think Douglas is a bad parent, I just thought that parenthood wasn’t what he was expecting. I do feel optimistic for their future, as I believed that they would learn and grow a relationship together.

CHRISSI: What did you make of the character of Douglas?

BETH: Well, Douglas had me in a bit of a spin throughout the novel to be honest! I went from thinking “Oh, I don’t think I like this guy,” to “Hmm, he’s improving on me,” to “Okay, I get this guy now!” I love being proved wrong when it comes to characters and I think the author wrote a fascinating character in Douglas with many hidden layers.

BETH: What did you think of the character of Connie?

CHRISSI: I wasn’t sure to begin with if I’m totally honest. Connie is the polar opposite to Douglas, but they worked somehow. I flip flopped between my opinion of Douglas too, so I definitely had mixed feelings about the couple. However, I think their relationship was really authentic. I completely believed in it.

CHRISSI: Was the end of the novel the one that you hoped for or expected?

BETH: It wasn’t, not really. But it this case, it was actually okay and I didn’t find myself shouting at the book when I closed it. I think the author wrote an authentic ending that screamed real-life and no, we don’t always get the prince or wake up after a hundred years of sleeping. Life sometimes throws you these issues and it’s how you deal with them that determines your future. I admired his honesty, got a bit surprised then just shrugged it off and enjoyed it.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: Totally, I have read all of David Nichol’s books now and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

Would WE recommend it?:

CHRISSI: Of course!

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI’s Star rating (out of 5):


BETH’S Star rating (out of 5):


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