Us, David Nicholls
Harper - 2014
Us, is a entertaining story about marital disharmony.
The narrator of the story is 54 year old Douglas Peterson who lives with his wife Connie and their 17 year old son Albie in the suburbs of London. Albie is about to head off to college to study photography much to his father's displeasure about his area of interest. Douglas is a Bio Chemist. He;s practical, grounded and yes, sometimes pretty boring, and he just don't understand his son and his desire to study something like photography.
The family has planned a grand tour of all Europe before Albie ventures off. One last family celebration together. The night before the trip Connie tells Douglas that although she still loves him, she thinks she wants a divorce and that she will be leaving him after their family trip. She just isn't happy with their life together after 20 plus years together. She wants to experience more in life. Connie, an artist, and more of a free spirit is sontaneous and passionate about life and her husband is anything but.
On their trip traveling through Europe, the couple finds they have more and nore alone time especially after Albie takes off with a girl he has met. Douglas now sees this as an opportunity to win back his wife.
The story is told through a series of flashbacks by Douglas over the couse of the couple's marriage. While Douglas was by no means the perfect father or husband, he had many endearing qualities that made me hope that things would turn out the way he wanted. Although, I have to admit, if I were Douglas, I would have let both Connie and Albie leave home, as these two individuals irked me for a variety of reasons. Douglas was the only character I ever cared about.
I think the author did a good job with this story. The family vacation throughout Europe provided the reader with some laugh-out-loud moments, but then some more serious moments when my heart went out to Douglas for the emotional pain he was dealing with. Us, is not a perfect story, but one that I still enjoyed. I think many readers who have been married 20 or more years will be able to relate to some of the marital disharmony experienced by this couple.