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The Understudy

The Understudy Recently divorced actor Stephen C McQueen no relation unfortunately seems to have a knack for bad luck But a failed marriage a stalled career a judgmental ex wife a distant daughter a horrid litt

  • Title: The Understudy
  • Author: David Nicholls
  • ISBN: 9780812971415
  • Page: 272
  • Format: Paperback
  • Recently divorced actor Stephen C McQueen no relation, unfortunately seems to have a knack for bad luck But a failed marriage, a stalled career, a judgmental ex wife, a distant daughter, a horrid little studio apartment in the far reaches of the London suburbs all these pathetic elements seem to pale in the chiseled face of his newest tormentor the Twelfth Sexiest ManRecently divorced actor Stephen C McQueen no relation, unfortunately seems to have a knack for bad luck But a failed marriage, a stalled career, a judgmental ex wife, a distant daughter, a horrid little studio apartment in the far reaches of the London suburbs all these pathetic elements seem to pale in the chiseled face of his newest tormentor the Twelfth Sexiest Man in the World, Josh Harper.Josh is the star of Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know, a biographical play about Lord Byron and Stephen is his understudy Not only is Josh fantastically, infuriatingly good looking, internationally renowned, and remarkably talented, he s also frustratingly healthy No matter how many all night booze and coke benders Josh goes on, he always shows up at the stage door for his call like clockwork Stephen doubts he ll ever get his chance to slip on the puffy shirt and tight breeches of Byron and tread the boards in the role that would certainly be the break he s always waited for.And just when Stephen s sure he couldn t resent Josh , he meets Josh s witty, restless American wife, Nora and discovers he likes her a little too much Another man might curse his luck at finding that his potential dream woman is a rival s wife, but at this point, Stephen would expect nothing else Caught between his stirring feelings for Nora, the demands of an insistent and secretive Josh, and his lifelong desire for a real career in show business,

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    About "David Nicholls"

    1. David Nicholls

      David Nicholls is a British author, screenwriter, and actor A student of Toynbee Comprehensive school and Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, he Graduated from the University of Bristol having studied English Literature and Drama.After graduation, he won a scholarship to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, before returning to London in 1991 and finally earning an Equity card He worked sporadically as an actor for the next eight years, eventually earning a three year stint at the Royal National Theatre, followed by a job at BBC Radio Drama as a script reader researcher This led to script editing jobs at London Weekend Television and Tiger Aspect Productions.During this period, he began to write, developing an adaptation of Sam Shepard s stage play Simpatico with the director Matthew Warchus, an old friend from University He also wrote his first original script, a situation comedy about frustrated waiters, Waiting, which was later optioned by the BBC.Simpatico was turned into a feature film in 1999, and this allowed David to start writing full time He has been twice nominated for BAFTA awards and his first novel, Starter for Ten was featured on the first Richard and Judy Book Club.

    721 Comments

    1. After reading Nicholls first book Starter for Ten , this was disappointing.There are some funny lines in The Understudy but it doesn t have the charm of his debut novel.Unfortunately, the protagonist Stephen McQueen is a pretty pathetic character He is understudy to the lead in a major West End play, but is not happy with that As most actors are terminally unemployed, he isn t doing too bad However, having chosen one of the most difficult professions to make it big in, he doesn t understand why [...]


    2. In all the most intense and intimate experiences of his life, he couldn t help comparing them with how actors had simulated similar moments his ecstasy at the birth of his daughter, say, or his grief at the news of the premature death of a schoolfriend, yelping for joy when Alison agreed to marry him, or the smile he d worn on his wedding day That s not to say any of his responses were any less sincere It was just that, consciously or otherwise, he was always comparing his behaviour with how he [...]


    3. For Josh harper, being in show business means money, fame, a beautiful wife, and a lead role on the London stage For Stephen C McQueen, it means a disastrous career playing passers by and dead people Stephen s stuck with an unfortunate name, a hopeless agent, a daughter he barely knows, and a job as understudy to Josh harper, the 12th Sexiest Man in the World And when Stephen falls in love with Josh s clever, funny wife, Nora, things get even difficult but might there yet be a way fro Stephen t [...]


    4. Sorry, Daily Mail, but The Understudy was not laugh out loud Or at least, in my case it wasn t But I knew it wouldn t be Because Starter For Ten made me, quite literally, laugh out loud like a little mad woman,thus allowing me to believe that David Nicholls s second book would be a minor disappointment for yours truly And indeed The Understudy is Steve McQueen Not the famous one, but a British lesser version of him While Josh Harper, a handsome 29 year old, has become a superstar adored by all w [...]


    5. This is a good, quick, funny, fun read especially if you ve ever struggled to make it as an actor, writer, artist or similiar Although the story often has to give way to the jokes, the jokes are funny, which saves the day.


    6. My wife ordered this, as she enjoyed One Day and Starter for Ten, which I ve read, and they were ok.Perhaps I ve got Nicholls fatigue, or it s a backlash to the mainly 4 and 5 stars I ve been giving recently, but I found this a chore to read.The characters are all unsympathetic and the story weak It s easy to read but instantly forgettable.The story seemed to run out of steam and even the humour began to pall way before the end of the book.The ending was meant to be a tenterhook, but I found mys [...]


    7. Light entertainment with some laugh out loud moments You re promised a good time with this book and you ll get a very untraditional ending.Stephen has a dream Since he was a little boy, his biggest wish and ambition for life has been to become a succesful actor Instead, he plays the parts of dead guy 4 , a squirrel in a kids show, and the understudy for a superstar On top of that, he s divorced from the woman he loves, he cannot connect with his daughter, and lives in a crappy apartment without [...]



    8. It s important to have ambitions To find the thing you love doing, and do it to the best of your abilities So I started reading this book with basically no expectations at all and I m glad I did so The book didn t disappoint me, however it had some flaws.Firstly why do people always think that they can get away with lying Stupid, stupid, stupid I think that s the reason why I couldn t identify with the main character, Stephen He lied so many unnecessary times that by the end I just wanted to lit [...]


    9. It was enjoyable, but there were so many problems What kept me going was the story yes, I did want to find out what happened next even though I couldn t find a character I really cared about.I especially wondered how someone as apparently untalented as Stephen Q McQueen got to understudy a lead role on the West End The portrayal of understudies in this book was really rather insulting I ve seen a number of understudies and I know some personally, and you have to be incredibly talented to underst [...]


    10. Sevdi in eyi bul ve onu t m kalbinle, elinden geldi i kadar iyi yap kim ne derse desin Karakterler Stephen, oyunculuk e itimini bitirdikten sonra i lerin kendisi i in daha kolay olaca n d nm , bulunmak istedi i yere bir ad m daha yakla t gibi aldat c bir hissin pe ine tak lm t r Her zaman hayalini kurdu u parlak ve son model arabalar, e i ve k z n n l ks i inde ya ayabilece i ve her eyiyle huzur kokan bir yuva, doruk noktas nda kurulu bir kariyerin sahibi olaca na da inanc az msanmayacak derece [...]


    11. This is a romantic comedy in book form A very British romantic comedy which is awkwardness than romance It s a good 80 20 split in favour of awkwardness This book can only be compared to the awkward lovechild of Michael Cera and Hugh Grant if they were ever able to take each other s clothes off which bumbling for 51 straight hours Stephen C McQueen is an actor Better known for playing corpses, Stephen has landed a real theatre job as the understudy of Hollywood heartthrob Josh Harper It s descr [...]


    12. So this book was a little holiday read that I took with high expectations as a friend said it was goodd it was on the whole I applause Nicholls for his writing ability Despite not overly identifying with the lead character I felt nothing but get a grip, u sad sack i did think well everyone knows a Stephen, someone just trying to make it but being outshone by anotherd hasn t everyone been there If stephen was Ted from scrubs, Josh was definietly cast as Ashton Kutcher a lovable rougue who is stup [...]


    13. Good solid story telling Problem was, I had a hard time feeling sympathy for the narrator, who has a habit of lying whenever he thinks the truth will put him in an unflattering light Worse, he blames bad luck for why he s such a sad sack, and has few redeeming characteristics otherwise Some of the jokes and set pieces were entirely too commonplace to be truly funny, and I thought it awfully convenient that he should walk into Number Twelve s dressing room that one scene, thereby finding a reason [...]


    14. David Nicholls has taken an interesting, universally recognisable concept the feeling of inferiority while pursuing one s dreams, but in The Understudy it just falls flat, and I blame the characters I made zero connection with all of them, so any development the characters might have gone through or any epiphany that might have enlightened by the end of the story them just flew right by me.


    15. My first time reading a book by this author, but I have to say, I rather enjoyed it The book was funny for the most part and did make me snigger here and there although I wouldn t go far as to say funniest book of the year The Understudy was a delight to read and I would for sure recommend it to anyone who loves reading in general.




    16. This book was not what I expected I expected it to much about acting than it was Instead we just get the sad life of Steve McQueen no not that one and the story that he never gets his big break.Then it comes and he gives it all up Even the romance area was all muddled That being said, I do like David Nicholls writing style so found the story easy to read I sped through it and I ll probably read by him but this one was good I enjoyed it but I felt there could be to it.


    17. After devouring David Nicholl s latest hit, One Day, I decided to risk backtracking through his catalog and being too familiar with his debut Starter for Ten a great movie if anyone is looking for a hidden gem on Netflix I went for his sopho effort, The Understudy While the Understudy has its charms I see it as the book Nicholl s needed to write to hone his skills, sharpen his wit and play with various levels of character depth and likability The lead is a struggling actor who, on the surface, i [...]


    18. For Josh Harper, being an actor means fame and fortune Not so much for the quite unfortunately named Stephen C McQueen He s ready and waiting to jump on his Big Break , but the opportunity just never seems to come around.This book was incredibly easy to read, and I really enjoyed it I d tell myself I d only read a couple chapters before going and doing x, but find myself still there half an hour later The characters are funny and I particularly like Steve s sense of humour He, like so many of us [...]


    19. Maybe it s the books I ve been choosing lately, but I m noticing a common thread between them all inconsistently weak main characters.This is my second David Nicholls book And with both of his stories, the main character male does shady things that end up sorely hurting him in the endady things that are transpired, it seems, by their insecurities.It s kind of hard to read a book where you don t much like the protagonistunless you re Tom Perrotta, because there s rarely a character you like in hi [...]


    20. Since reading One Day I have been singing David Nicholls s praises to anyone who will listen Originally I thought he had only written two books One Day and Starter For Ten, so it was a nice surprise when I went onto his website and found he had a third and now a fourth.Though all these books are basically relationship comedies, Nicholls sets them in a world so real and rich with authentic detail that I can t help feeling he is writing these books just for me A good portion of One Day was set at [...]


    21. This was realistic and well written, but I found it rather grim and depressing Stephen was so hopeless that I found him hard to like or relate to, and Nora was fairly unpleasant also I like my main characters to have a few redeeming features as well as a few realistic faults and foibles Stephen was repeatedly described as unlucky , but I can t get on board with that concept I think we make our own luck in life It s true that some people are born with natural advantages, like talent or good looks [...]


    22. The Understudy is David Nicholls second novel, following Starter for Ten but preceding One Day This surprised me as I didn t enjoy this book as much as the other two somehow it felt less polished and complete than the others and as such I was expecting it to be his debut novel.The main character is Stephen C McQueen, a struggling actor who is the understudy for a much bigger star Stephen is not particularly likeable or dislikeable he s just a bit dull As such, it s hard to care hugely what happe [...]


    23. For Stephen, London was less a city that never slept, a city that got a good nine hours I was a little worried about reading another David Nicholls so soon because One Day and A Question of Attraction were a tad bit similar The Understudy turned out to be different enough from the other two so as not to be repetitive but I didn t think that it had nearly the amount of hilarious sarcasm The story was solid though.His novels are so freakin British I always find myself reading in an accent which I [...]


    24. I won this book from the First Reads Giveaway page I never win anything, so I was so excited But, unfortunately, the book just wasn t that good I didn t feel anything for any of the characters I wasn t hoping that the romantic aspect would pull through I really didn t care if the main character succeeded or not The book jacket says laugh out loud funny uh, not so much Maybe it s me, but I don t find constant failure to be funny I don t find drunken and drug binges to be funny I don t find adulte [...]


    25. I liked this book, however I did not love it, and it isn t a book that I would pick up to read again.It has taken me nearly two months to read this book I would not say that I m a quick reader but if I like a book then I can generally get it finished within a week so it shows how much this book interested me The problem I found was that I could not connect with the main character of the book, and I was not intrigued to know what happened next, which probably explains why it took me so long to re [...]


    26. Since this is the first book I ve ever received for free from or any other place , I felt obligated to read the entire book Otherwise I wouldn t have This is a somewhat humorous book about a man who wants to be an actor, but is an understudy Of course, he s envious of the star Of course, the star is healthy and never provides an opportunity for the understudy to perform, which is probably a good thing, since the understudy seems like such a jerk, and probably not a good actor either This book ha [...]


    27. I m surprised to find myself giving up on this, since I m almost 200 pages in since I absolutely adored One Day highly enjoyed most of Starter for Ten But no matter how much further I get into this story, the characters don t become than caricatures, the plot doesn t get less predictable, nothing gets interesting I found myself dragging my feet to get back to it watching trashy tv when I could have been reading, all signs that I need to switch books I m hoping since he wrote the excellent One [...]


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