“Funny girl” is a funny comedy about a funny girl who wants to be funny. As silly as it sounds, it is exactly what this book is about.
Reading this Nick Hornby novel, is like watching a theater play or a movie from the late 50es early 60es, the ones Marylin Monroe (“Someone like it hot“) and Audrey Hepburn (“Breakfast at Tiffany’s”) used to be in: light, entertaining, funny, with an excellent British sense of humour and a story that flows smoothly surrounded by quick jokes and hilarious gags.
Barbara is young, beautiful, from Blackpool, she wins a beauty competition in her hometown and she wears the crown…for 5 minutes. She doesn’t want to be a beauty queen, she wants to be a comedian, be on the “telly” and make people laugh.
So she moves to London hoping to start her career but she gets a job as a shop assistant in posh emporiums instead, sharing a room with a colleague… until she meets her agent.
Barbara problem is that she lives in the 60es when pretty girls were just playing the part of the stupid in the entertainment industry of those days. Pretty girls used to wears bikinis or very tight dresses and show their pretty faces and bodies around but she doesn’t want to be one of those, she wants to be a real comedian. Her life starts to change with “Barbara (and Jim)”, a BBC series she finds herself in, written for her, as leading character, by Tony Holmes and Bill Gardiner, two writers mostly famous for a radio program. But does Barbara’s life go on exactly how she pictured it?
Nick Hornby describes in this book the London of the 60es with a romantic melancholic note. An easy place, where “all you had to do, was to ask for an inferior version of the life you had before and London would give it to you”. A city changing after the post war and developing a new intellectual vein around the BBC and TV mass production world.
“Funny Girl” is a bloody extraordinary representation of the Britain we still love nowadays. This book is London, in all its beauty, this book is Britishness.
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