Book review: Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

Funny Girl by Nick HornbyFunny Girl: What it is about

From the publishers: “Funny Girl is the story of a popular 1960s tv comedy series. The writers, Tony and Bill, comedy obsessives, who each harbour a secret. The Oxbridge-educated director, Dennis, who loves his job but hates his marriage. The male star Clive, who feels he’s destined for better things. And most of all Sophie Straw, once Barbara Parker, Miss Blackpool 1964, who’s changed her name and abandoned her old life because she just wants to make people laugh, like her heroine Lucille Ball of I Love Lucy fame. Nick Hornby’s new novel is about popular culture, youth and old age, fame, class and teamwork. It offers a wonderfully captivating portrait of youthful exuberance and creativity, and of a period when both were suddenly allowed to flourish.”

Funny Girl: What I thought

I read this book for my face-to-face book group. I didn’t like the idea of the book, but I do like the writer, so okay, I was happy to try.

It turned out to be a really good story. Somehow, I never really engaged with Sophie/Barbara, the main character, although it could be argued that the show itself is the main character. I loved the feel of the 1960s and the story behind the (fictional) TV series.

Sophie is quite a handful and the show is built around her, a novice actress from Blackpool (of all places!). We follow the story of the writers, who are always living in fear of running out of ideas. Their discussions on what should be in each next episode are fun to read. The director, Dennis, is one of a kind and one can but hope he’ll be happy in the end.

The writing is very smooth and easy – not a book that you have to struggle to get through. Great fun to read, although I did find there wasn’t all that much to discuss with the book group about this book. Just read it for yourself, just for fun.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (okay)

Number of pages: 346

First published: 2014

I got this: bought in bookstore

Genre: Historical fiction



About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

9 Responses to Book review: Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

  1. bibliosue says:

    I can’t wait to read this! I’m glad you liked it.

  2. Ahh good to see a review of this! I love Nick Hornby, but I was pretty disappointed with one of his more recent books (Juliet, Naked – it felt like a bad rehash of High Fidelity only with totally unlikeable characters). I’ll definitely read this one soon!

  3. I like Nick Hornby books too. Thanks for the review – I’ll look for this one.

  4. I can’t wait to read this. And the topic matter kind of grabbed me. Besides, you know it’s going to be good british humor. I’m glad you liked it.

  5. curlygeek04 says:

    I love Nick Hornby! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this one.

  6. Shan says:

    Good to hear you enjoyed it. It’s in my pile so I’m hope to get to it soon. Like you, the premise didn’t quite jump out at me but I find I can’t go wrong with Nick Hornby.

  7. Athira says:

    I’ve not read any NIck Hornby yet. I feel his books are not quite for me. But he is a writer I’d like to read some day.

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