Robert Webb, best known for playing Jez (an irresponsible man-child, who has only ever read one book in his life) in the cult classic comedy Peep Show, has just released his debut novel Come Again. On the surface, the novel appears to tell the story of a grieving widow as she travels back in time to save her husbands life, but there is so much more to this book than first meets the eye. Webb manages to instantly captivate his readers and delivers a funny, heartfelt, action packed and somewhat philosophical story that is well worth the read.
The novel is split into three sections and when we first meet Kate Marsden, the protagonist, she is in an extremely dark place. Her first love and husband of 28 years has suddenly died from an undiagnosed tumour, she has lost her IT job, pushed her friends away and is completely consumed by guilt, grief and depression. Kate's situation is incredibly bleak, but Robert Webb delivers it to his readers in a subtly humorous way whilst still managing to capture the complexities of her grief. For me, this first section was the most emotional because it felt so raw and real. I had only just met Kate but, thanks to Webb's incredible characterisation and humanising writing style, I found myself feeling immensely sorry for her.
The second section of the novel begins as Kate wakes up from a deep sleep, only to find that she is no longer in her grotty Clapham house. Instead, she's back in her university accommodation on the first day of freshers. She is a teenager again, but remains equipped with her middle aged conscience. This is Kate's second chance at life, and this time she is determined to save her husband. This sci-fi element didn't play out the way I'd expected it to; it was actually far better than I could've imagined. Watching Kate meet her friends all over again and clumsily attempt to recreate her past was extremely entertaining, and Webb balances these comedic moments nicely by introducing some moral dilemmas and taking Kate on a much needed journey of self discovery and reflection.
As the final section begins, we are whisked back into the present day to find that Kate has a new purpose in life. She begins the novel determined to change the past but, by the end, she's entirely focused on "doing her bit" and changing the future. Without giving too much away, this part of the novel is fast paced and gripping. Webb steps away from the typical 'rom com' style and plummets us into a Bond-esque finale, which includes a twist that actually made me audibly gasp. It sounds as though these are two different stories merged into one, but Robert Webb really makes it work.
I read this book in one day and literally couldn't put it down. After loving his memoir How Not To Be a Boy, I knew Robert Webb could write well, but his first work of fiction is a cut above. The plot is so clever and thought-provoking, and the characters are entirely believable, with Webb's wit making them all seem human. I thoroughly enjoyed Robert Webb's first novel and can't wait to read whatever amazing thing he writes next.
Come Again: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Come-Again-Robert-Webb-ebook/dp/B07P91D233/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3MTFNMOTTFOA6&dchild=1&keywords=come+again+robert+webb&qid=1587736055&sprefix=come+again%2Caps%2C137&sr=8-1
How Not To Be a Boy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Not-Boy-Robert-Webb-ebook/dp/B01NB1I9WW/ref=pd_vtp_351_1/259-6465345-8107410?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01NB1I9WW&pd_rd_r=7621608d-96df-4e1a-8676-b042e2d8449a&pd_rd_w=jb9PP&pd_rd_wg=Uhw9J&pf_rd_p=4915ec70-d6be-4f9c-9f8d-52e90bdd07c5&pf_rd_r=M69KTP3XAT8CQ2VQC54X&psc=1&refRID=M69KTP3XAT8CQ2VQC54X