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Our Bodies Get Bigger, But Our Hearts Get Torn Up

By Jen | Books | March 1, 2010 |

By Jen | Books | March 1, 2010 |

Throughout reading High Fidelity, I realized I’m a lot like Rob Fleming aside from a few glaring differences (I’m a 22 year old woman, not a 35 year old man). He likes lists (he starts off the novel by naming the top 5 girls who broke his heart). He’s pretty good at being an asshole when he wants to be. He’s a music elitist. He enjoys mocking people. He’s in a bit of a rut. Check, check, check, check and check.

This is somewhat worrying to me, because I don’t want to be like Rob. He’s a great character, an interesting fictional person to read about in a book. But to be the female version of him? No, thanks. If I wanted to model myself after a certain character, I don’t think Rob Fleming would be at the top of my list. (Now I’m thinking about who I’d want to be … Elizabeth Bennett, Hermione Granger, Elinor Dashwood… that’s all I got. Apparently the characters of books I read have unhappy endings.)

The book revolves around his break up with Laura, a woman he’s been seeing for a couple of years. They break up because they seem to have grown out of each other, they want different things, but there’s a lot of backstory to it, too. Rob owns a small music store and has two employees, Dick and Barry, who end up being his close friends. There’s a lot that goes on in the novel, as well as a good amount of past incidents to help us understand Rob and Laura’s relationship. But the plot is pretty simple: we’re watching Rob grow up. Even though he’s 35 years old, he’s got a lot of growing up to do. It’s not just about committing to his relationship with Laura, but also acting like an adult and getting out of his rut. His music business is failing, but he doesn’t do anything about it.

There’s a thought raised by Rob in the early goings of the book when he considers the relationship between his love life and music — what came first, the music or the misery? It was pretty clear I would adore this book upon reading that line. I started thinking to myself, when did I truly start appreciating music about relationships and unrequited love and all that sad crap? Does he mean misery as a whole? Or misery regarding a certain event? What was the event that made me disregard happy pop music and turn to Fiona Apple, Bon Iver, etc etc.? You can argue it a part of growing up, but why is it that some people don’t need listen to the sad stuff? What do my musical tastes say about my life?

I feel like I can’t properly put this book into words because it’s too personal. I can’t really describe my feelings for it without making this my own therapy session. So I’ll end my review with this: The book had good timing and I needed to read it at this time in my life.

This review is part of the Cannonball Read. For more of Jen’s reviews, check out her blog, I Can Read You, You’re My Favorite Book.

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