Starting Over is another very readable, ‘funny’ book where I don’t quite get the humour but don’t mind. It’s by Tony Parsons who I’ve read before but can remember almost nothing about the last book of his I read. I bought Starting Over on the way back from a visit to M.’s to read on the train and partly out of frustration with my then current book (The Book Thief, now officially a Set Aside I guess).
Starting Over is the story of a forty-something man whose life is pretty good apart from his congenital heart problem. He has a good job, a lovely/loving wife and good relationships with his kids. Then he has a heart attack, a heart transplant and has to rebuild his life. He almost doesn’t manage it.
And the reason he has to rebuild his life is not because he has to re-gain his health, it’s because, having been given a new lease of life and health he almost wrecks what he has.
This book is all about what it means to be young, to be old and to ‘grow up’. Whether to ‘settle down’ means abandoning your dreams or whether ‘following your dream’ can actually be immaturity and lack of responsibility. It raises these questions and gives the answers that you probably think that it does – which is to say it doesn’t try to answer them to explicitly but as far as it does comes down somewhere in the middle.
I enjoyed this book, though it pushed some of my buttons given that I’m slightly younger than the main character and slightly older than his wife – but unlike him I’m pretty much on my own.
Anyway that aside, I think it’s a good book. It’s not terribly profound but it’s readable and occasionally funny. It feels like it has rather too many ‘meaningful’ scenes towards the end and the very end is a little predictable (or do I mean comforting?)
7/10 – good but not amazing.