Funny Girl
Nick Hornby
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Buy *Funny Girl* by Nick Hornbyonline

Funny Girl
Nick Hornby
Riverhead Books
464 pages
February 2015
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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The estimable writer sets his latest on familiar turf. Funny Girl takes place in London in 1964 and revolves around Barbara Parker, a beautiful young woman whose life at the beginning of the book has been highlighted by winning the Miss Blackpool pageant. But she wants more and, eager to shed the trappings of her small-town existence, flees to London.

She is an actress undiscovered, and with equal amounts nervousness and adrenaline, she tries to break into the business. She is discovered--more to do with her physical assets than any acting abilities--and lands an agent. She auditions for apart on a new BBC television series to be titled "Wedded Bliss" and gets it.

The book deals with her skyrocketing popularity and all the attendant pomp, privilege, and drama that such success engenders. Hornby beautifully captures the essence of the period--even namechecking Keith Relf, lead singer of the Yardbirds, a very hip and mod band of the time--by describing the clubs and culture of the period.

Hornby is a fun writer. His words fall effortlessly across the page, and only a novelist of profound talent can make that happen. This may not have the staying power of High Fidelity or About a Boy, but it is an estimable contribution to the Hornby catalog.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2015

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