MAN CAMP by Adrienne Brodeur


Email this review


Two Manhattan women decide the urban men in their lives need retooling in order to be worthwhile spouses—or at least first dates: a chick-lit debut by the founding editor of Zoetrope.

Lucy is a Columbia biology professor with a wimpy boyfriend, Adam. Still in the throws of his econ dissertation and practically living off Lucy, Adam also proves himself pathetically inept on a Valentine’s Day camping trip. Lucy’s best friend, Martha, is a struggling actress. Out of frustration with her own first dates, Martha has just begun a business called FirstDate, through which she offers her critiquing service to improve men’s dating skills. The women, who live in the same building, spend a lot of time together in a bar dishing men, in particular New York City men in all their (white, middle-class) varieties: metro-sexual preeners, overly sensitive neurotics, techno-gadget addicts, self-important tycoons. In contrast, Lucy’s best college buddy, Cooper, a dairy farmer from West Virginia, is both manly and a gentleman. Why Lucy and he never got romantic remains vague, but when he visits New York, she watches with some jealousy as sparks fly between him and Martha. Nevertheless, the three of them hatch a plan to start a camp to train men how to be men. Next thing you know, Martha’s rounded up some of her clients and her sweetly neurotic brother—while Lucy’s tricked Adam into thinking he’s attending as a counselor—and they’re all off to West Virginny, where the men are soon having a great time changing tires and shooting guns. Martha is having less fun because Cooper’s mother is a steel magnolia doing her damnedest to thwart Martha’s romance with her son, while Cooper himself is distracted. Cooper’s secret soon comes out—and, suddenly, urban skills start coming in handy. Even poor Adam gets to shine.

Facile, silly and insulting to both sexes. Will probably be a big hit.

Pub Date: July 19th, 2005
ISBN: 1-4000-6214-4
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2005