Now, I should preface this book review by saying that Us didn’t overtake One Day’s place in my affections as my favourite book, but it certainly made itself a special place in my heart and it is a thoroughly recommend read if you are looking for a warm a touching read, peppered with light humour and very real issues and worries.
Us tells the story of Douglas and his wife Connie, the latter of which has just announced that she no longer wants to be part of their marriage. Douglas decides that the solution to the problem is a family trip around Europe, with their teenage son in tow:
‘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?
Us tells the story of what happens after the Happy Ever After, when one half of your whole no longer believes you have a happy ever after together. It journeys back through Douglas and Connie’s early days to help you understand how they end up where you find them.
It also sensitively charts the difficulties of understanding and relating to a teenage son, who seems worlds apart from you and shows no signs of wanting to move closer.
Us is not just an emotional journey, it is a geographical one too as Nicholls charts the families movements throughout Europe, and the adventures they have along the way.
Us is not a astonishing story, it is a realist story and as such there are many parts of the story that people will be able to relate to on various different levels. This is what makes it so readable, I devoured it in just a few sittings. And I hope that you will do the same…