Relationships are often mystifying. What attracts certain people repels others, and occasionally two persons with interests in opposing directions still come together and form a bond. As with all connections, you must work to keep them strong. Yet what if the interest is no longer there?
In Us, a novel by David Nicholls, we are invited into the lives and relationship of Douglas and Connie. The story weaves back and forth through the years of their lives from the first hint of a crack in the relationship back to the beginning when love was new, and then back again. The mix of personalities is both interesting and part of their charm. In the beginning the differences make their relationship more satisfying and exciting.
When Connie informs Douglas that she may be ready to move on now that their son is leaving home, he is shocked, even knowing the relationship has shifted. Indicating that they will discuss a possible breakup more once they have completed their trip abroad with their son, she explains that she wants to have this time for bonding between a father and son whose relationship has become strained. Douglas is not prepared and uses the trip to try and strengthen his bond with both Connie and their son. His fear of loss is pervasive. He has loved Connie since they met and he cannot imagine life without her.
So begins a journey full of strange and adventurous happenings. Extremely odd situations initially bring them together, then as normalcy returns the next event begins to rip another tear in the fabric of their union. There are tears and laughter, sadness and anger. The real-life situations and incidents make you feel like a voyeur into a friend’s relationship with all its ups and downs. There is also music and craziness with just enough panache to keep you involved and betting on love’s survival.
Nicholls weaves an interesting story of love and loss, betrayal and feeling, leaving us with an ache of emotion. His protagonists are an eclectic mix, and his love of life shows through his characters in every decision and move. You are transported on this journey with them, through all the pain and laughter.
If you enjoy romance and adventure, laughter and fun, as well as the foibles of real relationships you will find this to your liking.
This would be a great book for a reading or discussion group. The amazing array of situations would find the most ardent of readers eager for debate.