The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion #review @graemesimsion @michaeljbooks

The Best of Adam Sharp in the newest book from Graeme Simsion, author of much loved The Rosie Project. Adam is in his mid twenties when he meets and fall in love with beautiful TV actress Angelina Brown during a three month stay in Australia. They have a passionate relationship during this time and music is incredibly important to their relationship. Fast forward twenty years or so and Adam is is a comfortable, though rather stale, relationship with Claire when he unexpectedly receives an email from Angelina simply saying ‘Hi’. This sets in motion a string of emails between the two and leads to Adam wondering if Angelina is in fact the love of his life, the one who got away and the one he should try to connect with once more.

Unlike The Rosie Project, this book is not a romantic comedy filled with quirky characters. It is a book about love and there is some humour in it but it’s a different kind of story. One thing Adam does have in common with Don Tillman from The Rosie Project is that they both think a lot about the dynamics of their relationships. It’s very much a novel where the focus is on relationships and how they work for different people.

I particularly enjoyed the first part of the book where Adam is looking back at his time with Angelina and recounting how they met and how it all came to an end. Through rose tinted glasses he compares this relationship to his current situation with Claire. It was apparent to me that this nostalgia and not fully having processed the end of his relationship with Angelina had been affecting his life with Claire.

The book is peppered throughout with song title and lyrics which I guarantee will have you singing either aloud or in your head. All the songs have significance to various times in Adam’s life. I was in total agreement with a part of the book where Adam talks about a mix tape he has made of his friends’ favourite songs which he finds “utterly pedestrian and not because I had more sophisticated tastes. I was not making the connections that they were and the songs didn’t resonate.” That is so true – people’s favourite songs and the reasons they like them are so personal. You will find out more about this tomorrow if you follow @michaeljbooks on Twitter where people will be sharing the songs they feel are important in their lives. I’ll have a post about this too.

I have to admit that I didn’t connect so much with the second part of the book where Adam goes to stay with Angelina and her husband Charlie in France. I felt that Angelina’s relationship with Charlie was very weird and that there were some unlikely scenarios. I wasn’t convinced that any man would be as tolerant and understanding as Charlie, though it did make for some very interesting conversations between the two men!

The Best of Adam Sharp is about looking back, second chances and learning to appreciate what you have. With the story underpinned by the soundtrack of Adam’s life, it’s a thoughtful look at what is important to us and our relationships at different stages of our lives.

My thanks to Laura Nicol at Michael Joseph Books for my copy of this book. The Best of Adam Sharp will be published in hardback and as an e-book tomorrow, 9th February, and you can order a copy online here: The Best of Adam Sharp

From the back of the book

Can you define your life by a single song?

Adam Sharp – former pianist in a hip Melbourne bar, now a respectable IT consultant in Norwich – can. And it’s ‘You’re Going to Lose that Girl’ . . .

On the cusp of fifty and a happy introvert, Adam is content. He’s the music expert at his local pub-quiz and he and his partner Claire rumble along. Life may not be rock n’ roll, but neither is it easy listening. Yet something has always felt off-key.

And that’s his nostalgia for what might have been, his blazing affair – more than twenty years ago, on the other side of the world – with Angelina Brown, a smart and sexy, strong-willed actress who taught him for the first time, as he played piano and she sang, what it meant to find – and then lose – love. How different might his life be if he hadn’t let her walk away?

Then, out of nowhere, Angelina gets in touch. Adam has sung about second chances, but does he have the courage to believe in them?

The Best of Adam Sharp is about growing old and feeling young, about happy times and sad memories, about staying together and drifting apart, but most of all, it’s about how the music we make together creates the soundtrack that shapes our lives.

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