Rob Zimmerman is the 30-something owner of a used record shop in London. Rob is a music snob with the amusing habits of creating endless “top five” hit lists and re-arranging his record collection during times of crisis. Since he has just broken up with his longstanding girlfriend Laura, Rob decides to contact his previous top five girlfriends in an attempt to discover what’s wrong with his love life. As he visits his old flames Rob evaluates his relationships with women and starts the long journey toward maturity. Hornby also introduces some excellent secondary characters, including the equally obsessive record store employees Dick and Barry.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
This book was discussed at our annual barbecue. There were many comparisons made between Rob and Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones. Both of these characters showed the same lack of self-confidence and basic life skills coupled with a high degree of success with the opposite sex. We also had a good discussion about the importance of music, good compilation tapes and our own top five lists of songs. Interestingly, many of the Armchair Critics found Rob’s behaviour childish, negative and annoying to the point of disliking the book, while most of the male guests at our barbecue found Rob amusing and thought he deserved points for showing his vulnerability. The women were also baffled by the fact that a successful lawyer like Laura would be willing to give this loser a second chance. Chalk that one up to Nick Hornby’s male fantasies……although if Rob was really John Cusack……hmmmm.