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The Crack Magazine


Sweet Sorrow

David Nicholls, Hodder & Stoughton

It might sound like an unnecessarily hackneyed device to write a novel about first love, and have your two protagonists starring in an amateur production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, but David Nicholls pulls it off with his usual dash. It’s summer in the mid 1990s and Charlie has got it rough. He’s awaiting his GCSE results (which he knows are going to be terrible) and not enjoying living at home with his depressed, out of work, father. Both his mother and sister have upped sticks. One day he meets, and is enamoured by, Fran, who is part of the Full Fathom Five theatrical troupe and set to play Juliet in their forthcoming production. Charlie reluctantly joins the group, just so that he can be near her. David Nicholls, who has previously scored big hits with ‘One Day’ and ‘Us’, can do poignant better than most, and, truth be known, he also does bittersweet, funny and evocative better than most too, and he’s on fine, page-turning, form here.