In doing so, she initiates an e-mail correspondence with Tucker, and a connection is forged between two lonely people who are looking for more out of what they’ve got. Tucker’s been languishing (and he’s unnervingly aware of it), living in rural Pennsylvania with what he sees as his one hope for redemption amid a life of emotional and artistic ruin—his young son, Jackson. But then there’s also the new material he’s about to release to the world: an acoustic, stripped-down version of his greatest album, Juliet - entitled, Juliet, Naked.
What happens when a washed-up musician looks for another chance? And miles away, a restless, childless woman looks for a change? Juliet, Naked is a powerfully engrossing, humblingly humorous novel about music, love, loneliness, and the struggle to live up to one’s promise.
My Take: Strangely, About a Boy didn't do it for me (guess I'm not in love with books centring around egomaniacal child-men) but I really fell hard for Juliet, Naked. In Annie, Hornby has finally produced a fully developed female character who's not just out to break hearts. I think women will relate to Annie, someone who's coasted through life by doing what's easiest - staying in a dreary but familiar small town with the same guy she's dated for over a decade. Many of us can relate to these lost months, years, even decades. What Annie realizes (and Tucker too, whose story is a nice counterpart to Annie's) is that there is no reclaiming that time, that one has to move on and accept that while we've been shaped by that experience, it's not the only one we're possible of having.
Juliet, Naked focuses on the negative shapes of our experiences - the album, Juliet, Naked, is the negative to the finished album, Duncan is the negative to what Annie is really looking for in a partner and Annie's lost years are the negative to what she can become if she will just let herself live. Juliet, Naked is also a book about wanting, something Annie and Tucker have desperately tried to repress, and the total joy waiting when one capitulates utterly to it.