I got very excited to see The Understudy by David Nicholls in HMV while I was shopping not too long ago, and easily picked it up to buy. So here we are.
The Understudy follows the life of Stephen and his dream of becoming a well-known actor- although it is very clear his completely sincere dream is to be well-known for his talent, not for the want of fame. Only, his talent which as an audience, we only believe to be genuine, is not noticed enough by the world he wishes it would just be noticed by. As the understudy to Josh Harper - a well-loved actor - who is never the type of ill that could mean Stephen has his chance to shine. Stephen's character is a quite amusing, but also sad representation of "unlucky."
I don't like to place books with others; describing their characteristics with another story, however today I will, for I cannot pinpoint exactly why, if a friend enjoyed The Understudy, they would also enjoy... The Rosie Project series. I adore both books, and although the main characters, Stephen and Don (The Rosie Project) are not all that similar, I got the same happy, amused feeling reading The Understudy that I do when I think about The Rosie Project.
In the hope to one day become an actor, Stephen takes on numerous roles that aren't exactly his dream, but what he considers to be stepping stones. He has found he has a particular talent for playing, well, dead people. We ache for him to have the chance to step out of his dressing room and not have to be the understudy - just for one night! -, and we feel his frustration alongside him.
The Understudy is highly amusing with Stephen's bitter thoughts, but honest life. We adore his relationship with Nora - Josh Harper's wife - and we want for nothing but him to make his ex-wife and daughter proud. The Understudy does portray a big, lovely message about finding something we love and trying our hardest at it. I like that.
An Award & An Advert,
The Girl in the Moonlight.