Commitment is the major them in Hornby’s novel. The narrator is constantly struggling with this concept. Rob is torn between wanting to be free so he is able to go where he wants to go and do whatever he feels like doing and wanting the enjoyment of a deeper relationship with a woman. Rob really enjoys the infatuation part of a relationship. Energies are high and quick; and there is not so much time to sit around and trying to figure out what is happening or where the relationship is going. But there is a downside of this more surface type of relationship. There is the constant wondering if this woman is the one; or is this woman going to stay? After the initial infatuation wears off, Rob falls into a devastating critique of himself as well as the woman he is living with. He often finds more reasons to leave than to stay for both himself and the woman. The rumblings that go on inside his head are in serious battle with his self-worth. The more insecure he becomes, the more he begins to search for another woman he can fall madly infatuated with. What he cannot do is commit. To Rob, commitment is almost as confining as a long prison term. Rob, as he admits, likes to keep his options open.
This lack of commitment applies not only to woman but also to his career. He has dropped out of school and is a bit bored with his record shop. His life is monotonous. He makes enough money to get by and has no enthusiasm to pursue anything more challenging. It takes Laura’s urging for Rob to even consider what else he might enjoy doing, some other career he could commit to. By maintaining an existence that merely helps him pass from one day to the next with a roof over his head and a little food in his belly, Rob does not have to commit to a thing.
Another theme is friendship. Rob has two guys help him out at the shop. He doesn’t really need any help because he seldom has any customers. He also doesn’t make much of a profit and can barely pay...
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