A Long Way Down

I’m a huge fan of Nick Hornby. I’ve read and enjoyed most of his books, and this weekend I read A Long Way Down. It did not disappoint. It was equally heartbreaking and hilarious (perhaps a bit more hilarious than heartbreaking, actually), which is so typical of his writing.

It’s about four people who meet at the top of building on New Year’s Eve. They have come to the top of this building to jump off and kill themselves.

I know, I know… it sounds horribly depressing and dark, but it’s really not. Like most of the books I’ve read by Mr. Hornby, you leave the story feeling uplifted.

Anyway, there were so many great parts, but one bit in particular I wanted to share, said by the character that in his late 20′s:

“The trouble with my generation is that we all think we’re fucking geniuses. Making something isn’t good enough for us, and neither is selling something, or teaching something, or even just doing something; we have to be something. It’s our inalienable right, as citizens of the twenty-first century.”

This resonated with me as I think it really is so characteristic of my generation. We all feel like we have to be something amazing. We read stories about someone making instagram and becoming an instant billionaire and we think “that could have been me!”  Our standards of success become ridiculously high, and while very high standards can be a good thing, they can also be unrealistic.

I don’t know. Just some food for thought on this lovely Tuesday.

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ShaylaJune 12, 2012 - 1:24 pm

I bought & read this book in college! Sounds like its worth another read. :)

jeanJune 13, 2012 - 10:42 am

what a great quote! thanks for sharing. for me, i view my career as a means to an end. i work to be able to play. i don’t need to be something and the older i get, the more comfortable i’m feeling about that. my career doesn’t have to define me. BUT kudos to those that want to ‘be’ something as your quote says. i have great admiration for those folks as well.

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