Starter for Ten by David Nicholls

*sigh* I picked up Starter for Ten by David Nicholls because I loved One Day. Wrong move I’m afraid. It wasn’t a bad book, it was just quite ordinary.

If you want the nitty-gritty, you can read the book blurb here or you can simply accept my summary: nerdy, somewhat gauche boy with bad skin falls in love with the most-popular-girl and meanwhile less-popular-but-lovely-on-the-inside-girl is waiting in the wings. I think you know what happens.

Nicholls adds some nice details to set the scene, notably 1985 (lots of references to Kate Bush and mix-tapes); the main characters appearing on British TV quiz show University Challenge; and the experiences that go with first year university (if I put my ordinary mattress on the ground, does that make it a futon? No. And is a home brew kit a good investment? Depends).

“Then she starts to dance. They’re playing ‘Love Cats’ by The Cure, and in a witty and incisive interpretation of the song’s lyric, she’s dancing a little bit like a cat, bored and aloof and supple, with one arm occasionally flung up above her head like a, well, like a cat’s tail! She is the most amazing dancer in the world!….and she is so wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully pretty, and an idea hits me, a plan so beautiful in its simplicity and yet so ingenious an infallible, that I’m amazed I haven’t thought of it before. Dance! I will woo her through the medium of contemporary dance.”

I think we can all agree that no one wins with wooing ‘through the medium of contemporary dance’. And let’s just leave it there.

2/5 Some funny scenes saved me from merely skimming.

Take Starter for Ten with some plain biscuits

“…before we go and kick some ass, we have a cup of tea and some plain biscuits, then I go to the gents’ and wash my armpits with liquid soap and start to feel a little better.”


4 responses

  1. I liked One Day well enough, but I have to say that movie was absolutely atrocious. I usually like Anne Hathaway well enough, but not in that one.

    At any rate., the boy ends up with the popular girl, right? 😉

    • I loved One Day (because you know I like a good cry). I was fortunate to read it when it was just released (thanks to the rec of my local bookshop owner 🙂 ) – as I knew nothing about it and hadn’t read any reviews or spoilers, the ending came as a complete shock. Agree, movie was not good at all.

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