Title: The Best of Adam Sharp
Author: Graeme Simsion
Publisher: Michael Joseph
On the cusp of turning fifty, Adam Sharp likes his life. He’s happy with his partner Claire, he excels in music trivia at quiz night at the local pub, he looks after his mother, and he does the occasional consulting job in IT.
But he can never quite shake off his nostalgia for what might have been: his blazing affair more than twenty years ago with an intelligent and strong-willed actress named Angelina Brown who taught him for the first time what it means to find—and then lose—love. How different might his life have been if he hadn’t let her walk away?
And then, out of nowhere, from the other side of the world, Angelina gets in touch. What does she want? Does Adam dare to live dangerously?
I had high hopes for The Best of Adam Sharp, having read and hugely enjoyed The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect. I’m pleased to say that this novel didn’t disappoint – but I will say it’s a different kind of book to the other two.
The story is an interesting, enjoyable read which explores relationships and the idea of ‘long lost loves’. The main character, Adam Sharp, is quite likeable – though he makes some questionable decisions at times (though at the risk of comparing the two again, I don’t think anyone can be as likeable as Don Tillman [from The Rose Project]!)
Adam’s relationship – or, in a way, ‘non-relationship’ – with Angela is tricky, complicated and, ultimately, lost. Though in the present day he’s married to Claire, a surprise email from Angela (who is also married, and with kids) shakes everything up…
The story is split into parts, really – there’s an explanation of how things got to how they are today, and how Adam’s life is, as it stands, and then there’s the ‘post-email’ section, after he receives the email from Angela. The tone of the book felt, to me, poignant and quite sad at times, particularly when Adam reflects on what he’s lost. His current day situation doesn’t seem too great, though he doesn’t seem to be thinking about changing anything until he gets the email from Angela. Sometimes I do feel like he’s a bit of an idiot, though, in the way he acts, particularly with his current girlfriend Claire.
I really liked the way relationships, and the way memories can affect how people think about others even years after they happen, are portrayed in this book. It’s sad and poignant at times, but it feels quite truthful. There are parts which feel very odd, because Angela’s relationship with her husband Charlie seems very strange and out of the ordinary, but you soon learn that this is intentional. It’s a really good read, and characters aren’t too perfect or one-dimensional; they make mistakes and have their faults. As I mentioned, at times I really disliked some of the characters because of the way they were behaving, and struggled to care a lot about them, but recognised that this is often the case with people – no one is perfect.
This is an engrossing, honest read that’s ideal for getting lost in – I definitely did!
Many thanks to Michael Joseph for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.
The Best of Adam Sharp is out in hardback in the UK on 9 February.