Douglas is a fairly good looking, reserved, scientist. He doesn't do drugs. He doesn't really get art. Somehow, against all odds, he manages to woo and win the heart of Connie, a beautiful, independent artist. Douglas and Connie marry and have a son. Albie is about to leave for college when Connie delivers the fateful news one night--she thinks their marriage is over.
Douglas is madly in love with Connie and decides to use the "Grand Tour" vacation that they've planned to win her back and save their marriage. As the fracturing family travels about Europe, Douglas repeatedly stumbles and bumbles his way with these free-spirited artists in his sincere efforts to salvage his family.
Us by David Nicholls, the author of the popular One Day that I didn't actually read, is the story of Douglas, Connie and their son Albie. It's the history of their family. Douglas has a unique voice in literature. He's mild mannered. He's kind and careful and wary. He's smart and he works hard. He's loyal. He regularly says the wrong thing to the people he loves. I could relate to Douglas.
Nicholls has a beautiful way of telling a story and I was transported across Europe and through the museums. I could literally see the artwork and the cities and the parks through his words. I felt Douglas's desire to save his family and I cheered for him as he clumsily and humorously tries to convince his wife to stay. I was definitely emotionally invested in Doug's plight.
Nicholls's prose is lovely and the story of Douglas, Connie and Albie is at times tender, funny and heart wrenching. Us is the story of a marriage--the highs and lows, the triumphs and the sorrows. I, for one, applauded Douglas's noble efforts.
Us by David Nicholls is published by Harper on October 28, 2014.
**I received a complimentary copy of Us. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.**