The main character in this story is sometimes so whiny and in such deep bouts of self pity I find myself becoming more peeved with him than sympathetic. His ex girlfriend Laura isn't much better with her low self esteem. Then add in the two guys that work for him, Barry being one of the most annoying employees ever, and I'm surprised I even finished this book.So what kept me reading? Hornby's writing. While not exactly literature calibre it is at least, solid. His characters may not be likeable but they are believable. I also found that while I may not have liked Rob or most of the other people in this book , with the exception of Marie and Dick, I still was curious enough to find out what happens to them. Oh and it didn't hurt that I loved a lot of the musical references and shared a lot of the tastes.