DESIGN FLAWS OF THE HUMAN CONDITION by Paul Schmidtberger

DESIGN FLAWS OF THE HUMAN CONDITION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An indulgent tale of two recent acquaintances, one straight, one gay, who help each other deal with their issues.

Revenge is sweet but excesses are irritating in Schmidtberger’s debut, purportedly a comic novel. While devoting considerable space to the rage-inducing aspects of modern urban life, he expands inconsequential events and trivial conversations to inordinate length in a sometimes smartly phrased but generally synthetic story. Ken Connelly is stressed because he has to work three jobs: as an adjunct professor of English, a reference librarian and a proofreader at a law firm. He is dumped by his cheating boyfriend, Brett, then finds himself suspended from the library job (for defacing books) and sent on an anger-management course. There he meets overweight Iris, who had been justifiably rude to an air hostess, and the two become friends. Iris agrees to spy on Brett, only to discover he is happy with his new lover. Ken agrees to spy on Iris’s partner Jeremy, who has lied once and now turns out to have a close friend named Alicia. Ken gets over Brett. Iris loses weight and decides to dump Jeremy in favor of someone who will want only her. The two take mild revenge on their persecutors and vow to continue their friendship.

A story which offers less entertainment than it realizes.

Pub Date: July 17th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7679-2675-1
Page count: 338pp
Publisher: Broadway
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2007