A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO FREE FALL by Andy Abramowitz

A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO FREE FALL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A narcissistic man is kicked out of the house by his wife after a one-night stand while also having trouble at work; his tentative sister seeks success in her career.

Davis Winger, who's in his mid-30s, is confident that he's a good guy. The kind of guy who helps neighbors move and has sex with his wife of eight years “thrice weekly” without needing to picture “a tangle of tipsy sorority sisters.” Sure, he has sex with a co-worker while on a business trip. But she came on to him and he apologized for the “lapse.” Why can’t his wife understand that she belongs to him? And why is his boss putting him on leave during the investigation of a malfunction on a brand-new amusement-park ride he designed? Unfair! After being kicked out of the house, Davis moves into a nearby apartment complex, where he commences an ongoing physics tutoring/ogling situation with a high school teen. He is derisive of housewives and their “nicotine spots and low-swinging labias [sic]” who dare sit by the pool as he lifeguards to fill his now-empty workdays. Davis’ overt sexism is understood as such by himself and others and yet allowed to stand because, you know, he’s a good guy. Half of Abramowitz's (Thank You, Goodnight, 2015) book revolves around Davis’ younger sister, Molly, 32, and her love life and career trajectory as a soft-news journalist. But don’t worry, she recognizes that her own career opportunities are really due to the much younger man she’s dating. And when she starts dating someone new, her brother grants his permission after making sure the guy hasn’t slept with too many other women. Characters in this book rarely smile, they smirk. The prose is turgid, the story repetitive, the characters clichéd, and juvenile sexual innuendo abounds.

It’s a man’s world and women exist as second-class citizens in this skippable novel.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5420-1465-6
Page count: 396pp
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2019