by Nick Hornby
Rob, the narrator of High Fidelity, is the kind of man most of us are glad we're not: he's an obsessive, petty whiner who's never satisfied with what he has. The departure of his live-in girlfriend at the beginning of the book prompts Rob to reorganize his record collection; after finishing this important task he looks at the rest of his life. However, since he has always been too self-absorbed to really understand what was going on, he needs the help of his former girlfriends. One by one he calls them up, hoping to boost his self-esteem by hearing that their situations are at least as pathetic as his own. So, Rob is not a very sympathetic character. However, the book as a whole is pretty enjoyable and it's often funny. Most male readers will see the bad side of their behavior reflected in Rob, and many of the book's most awkward moments ring so true that I have to wonder how much of this material is autobiographical. So, while it's nothing deep, High Fidelity is a good character study and a fairly engrossing, amusing read. Shortly after finishing the book I saw the movie. It's also good, but it seems to paint Rob in a more positive light than the book does.
copyright © 2000 John Regehr