Hornby’s Mumbles

I reread Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch recently, and a moment that probably barely registered when I first read it five or six years ago has this time stuck with me.  The book, Hornby’s first, is almost as much a memoir of disaffected youth as it is a chronicle of obsessive fandom.  The best example of Hornby’s youthful fecklessness comes from his time at Cambridge: he recounts that when pressed about his plans for the future, he would mumble noncommittally about publishing and journalism, the stock answer for “aimless arts undergraduates” everywhere.  This was in 1979, when publishing and journalism represented viable options for young people pondering their career prospects.  Asked about his future in 2010, the aimless arts undergraduate (or graduate) instead mumbles about founding a blog, or maybe a tech start-up (provided he doesn’t have to do any of the coding).  Hornby’s situation in 1979 is one I both can and cannot relate to: there is a timeless, touching quality to his uncertainty, but at the same time, he would’ve been paid to do the jobs he was so ambivalent about pursuing.


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