This warm, wise, highly entertaining twenty-first century love story is about what happens when the person who makes you happiest is someone you never expected
Lucy used to handle her adult romantic life according to the script she’d been handed. She met a guy just like herself: same age, same background, same hopes and dreams; they got married and started a family. Too bad he made her miserable. Now, two decades later, she’s a nearly-divorced, forty-one-year-old schoolteacher with two school-aged sons, and there is no script anymore. So when she meets Joseph, she isn’t exactly looking for love–she’s more in the market for a babysitter. Joseph is twenty-two, living at home with his mother, and working several jobs, including the butcher counter where he and Lucy meet. It’s not a match anyone one could have predicted. He’s of a different class, a different culture, and a different generation. But sometimes it turns out that the person who can make you happiest is the one you least expect, though it can take some maneuvering to see it through.
Just Like You is a brilliantly observed, tender, but also brutally funny new novel that gets to the heart of what it means to fall surprisingly and headlong in love with the best possible person–someone you didn’t see coming.
I thought Just Like You was going to be much more of a fluffy, escapist read than it actually was – and that’s no bad thing. It’s a poignant, perceptive and entertaining novel about what happens whn we fall for someone deemed ‘outside of our usual circle’ – in whatever way that may be. In this story, 42-year-old mother Lucy begins a relationship with 22-year-old Joseph, and it’s not just the difference in ages which proves to be a point of differentiation between them – Joseph is black, and Lucy is white.
Just Like You is wonderfully written and very perceptive (though I’d expect no less from Nick Hornby) and, as it’s set around the time of the Brexit referendum, it brings back so many memories of what Britain felt like during that time. The observations and details given are perfectly presented, transporting me back to 2016 and the rifts that were suddenly built between people who you’d never imagine to be ‘voting the other way’.
There’s obviously plenty of talk about relationships, sex, and what makes two people fit together (or not) and it’s all written in such a way that I don’t feel like it’s ever cheesy or cliched. The plot flows brilliantly and the characters drew me in: they’re likable and feel convincing and realistic, like people I could meet on the streets of North London (where I’ll be moving to in a few weeks’ time, incidentally!)
I’d happily read more about Lucy and Joseph, and felt sad when I had to say goodbye to them at the end of the novel. Definitely recommended.