The Understudy – David Nicholls

The first I heard of David Nicholls was in reference to his book, “One Day.” And then, while I was sitting in a pub in the Scottish Highlands recently, a BBC adaptation of his book, “Us” was playing on the screen and I was following along between bites of food (watching the subtitles as there was no sound.) 

So, I went on to amazon and looked for his least reviewed book.  (Don’t ask why, there is no rational explanation for doing such a thing.)

Anyway, the least-reviewed book was, The Understudy.

I was skeptical. Skeptical because my usual type of fiction these days is fantasy. Any type of fantasy will do, but usually it will contain magic and elves, fairies and wizards, gnomes and gods (or other things equally far-fetched and interesting.)

But I began to read. And I was impressed. It tells the story of divorced actor Stephen C. McQueen who seems to have knack for bad luck. The story takes us on an emotional roller-coaster, heart-breaking in places and laugh-out-loud funny in other places. 

It dawned on me while reading that there is a magic in real life and this book captures it. The magic of the ordinary (or not so ordinary). David captures the essence of people when creating his characters, making them real and alive, individual and interesting. He has them talk through the pages of the book. And we follow them through this portion of their lives. We are with them simply by reading the words. Cheering them on, or wishing they’d stop, the story immerses you (well, I was immersed anyway.) 

I’m not one for traditional book reviews (There are enough of those!) I just want to say that this book is skillfully written, it captures the essence of people, the interactions and thoughts and feelings and is very well done.

Check it out on Amazon here: The Understudy on Amazon

And rest easy in the knowledge that I earn nothing from amazon for sharing that link 🙂

I have now started reading the next least reviewed book I could find and am in the middle of Sweet Sorrow!

Anyway, here’s the link again: (change the bit to .com if you don’t live in the UK)

And hopefully check out my book, too, or sign up for my newsletter and get a free short story of mine by clicking here:

All the Best,

M. J. Fraser (



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