"Hornby never seems quite at his ease with his subject. Having raised the issues of depression and suicide, he then devotes much of the book to backing away from them, attempting to retreat to the arenas of social comedy where he feels secure. This is a shame because he is capable of great empathy: ""A man who wants to die feels angry and full of life and desperate and bored and exhausted, all at the same time,"" JJ the disillusioned guitarist tells us. ""He wants to fight everyone, and he wants to curl up in a ball and hide in a cupboard somewhere. He wants to say sorry to everyone, and he wants everyone to know just how badly they&ve all let him down."" But the only real moment of darkness that is allowed to enter the narrative comes from a taxi driver from an unnamed African country whose family has been slaughtered the narrators feel guilty, give him a ""very large tip,"" and he passes on into the night."