- Expected May 5, 2020
From the best-selling author of One Day comes a bittersweet and brilliantly funny coming-of-age tale about the heart-stopping thrill of first love—and how just one summer can forever change a life.
Now: On the verge of marriage and a fresh start, thirty-eight year old Charlie Lewis finds that he can’t stop thinking about the past, and the events of one particular summer.
Then: Sixteen-year-old Charlie Lewis is the kind of boy you don’t remember in the school photograph. He’s failing his classes. At home he looks after his depressed father—when surely it should be the other way round—and if he thinks about the future at all, it is with a kind of dread.
But when Fran Fisher bursts into his life and despite himself, Charlie begins to hope.
In order to spend time with Fran, Charlie must take on a challenge that could lose him the respect of his friends and require him to become a different person. He must join the Company. And if the Company sounds like a cult, the truth is even more appalling: The price of hope, it seems, is Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet learned and performed in a theater troupe over the course of a summer.
Now: Charlie can’t go the altar without coming to terms with his relationship with Fran, his friends, and his former self. Poignant, funny, enchanting, devastating, Sweet Sorrow is a tragicomedy about the rocky path to adulthood and the confusion of family life, a celebration of the reviving power of friendship and that brief, searing explosion of first love that can only be looked at directly after it has burned out.
A teenager experiences heady first love amid an amateur Shakespeare production in this amusing coming-of-age novel from Nicholls (One Day). Sixteen-year-old Charlie Lewis, certain he failed his school exams, spends the summer of 1997 working under the table at a small-town gas station, "too far away from London to be a suburb" and "too developed to count as countryside." There, he avoids caring for his unemployed father while stealing small sums of cash to cover household expenses. When he meets Fran Fisher, a girl his age from a much nicer private school, he gets swept into participating in a production of Romeo and Juliet. Fran and Charlie have delightful banter as their attraction blooms, and he builds rapport with the other actors while hiding his participation from his boorish school friends. After his boss uncovers his gas station thefts, the fallout has consequences, not the least being the ruin of a carefully planned weekend of sexual exploration with Fran. While the story lopes along fairly predictably, Nicholls excels at capturing Charlie's insecurity, the messy exuberance of first love, and the coarseness of teenage male friendships. This doesn't quite reach the heights of Nicholls's previous work, but it is a good deal of fun.