Even though I am an avid reader, I rarely have had the occasion to read the perfect book at the exact moment of my life that I should be reading it. That does sound cryptic, and perhaps I don’t quite understand what I mean either, but I think that I read Us by David Nicholls at just the right time (watch Nicholls discuss the book here).
The overall setting of the novel is a not-quite grand tour of Europe, which will always catch my interest, but it is the story of the family travelling that made this book so compelling to me. Douglas Peterson has planned the trip as a last family vacation before his son Albie leaves for college and adulthood, however on the eve of their departure his wife, Connie, declares that she wants to end their marriage.
Despite this bombshell and Albie’s reluctance to be on holiday with his parents (specifically, his father) rather than with his friends in Spain, the trip proceeds as planned. Along the way, Douglas reflects on his relationship with Connie and with his son and how he missed things going so badly.
So as I alluded to, this book hit me in personal ways which I won’t bore you with, but apart from that I found it to be a wonderful story about how families work or don’t work despite the best of intentions. Sometimes people think that a vacation together is the cure for what ails; and in some cases that is true, but not always.
In addition, I enjoyed reading about the Petersons’ travels through Europe. Their itinerary focused on the great art museums is likely one that I would follow on my own and I have added a few items to my travel to-do list.
Without giving anything away, I will also say that I found that Nicholls ended the novel in a perfectly imperfect way.
I highly recommend this book and hope that you will read and enjoy it as much as I did. For other reviews of this novel, please visit the other stops on the tour.