WORTH WINNING by Dan Lewandowski


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Taylor Worth, 35, with ""wavy hair, dreamy eyes, and broad shoulders,"" is a successful computer-biz type in Washington, D.C.--and a confirmed swinging bachelor who can have any woman he likes. . . but finds all women second-rate or objectionable for one reason or another. Irritated (along with the reader) by Taylor's obnoxious smugness, his married friend Ned proposes a high-stakes bet: within three months Taylor must simultaneously woo--and get engaged to--any three women chosen by Ned. (""No uglies allowed."") So the rest of the novel follows Taylor as he does indeed win over three very different types: lustful married-woman Eleanor, who's ready to leave her husband after weeks of ""frenetic fucking"" with stud Taylor (she ""couldn't function without his cock""); ""incredibly gorgeous"" receptionist Erin, an immature and old-fashioned type (with ""ali the intellectual spontaneity of asparagus"") who's soon looking forward to bovine domesticity; and tart-sweet feminist Veronica, who's philosophically opposed to marriage but weakens. . . just as Taylor himself, starting to let down his ""emotional armor,"" finds himself falling in love for the first time. (""I want to know you. I want to share with you. I want to give myself to you and have you give yourself back, unreservedly."" Etc.) Eventually, of course, the three women--via some contrived farce involving two flamboyantly homosexual bread-bakers--find out that Taylor has been three-timing them. And they ultimately take their revenge with practical jokes involving pregnancy, suicide, and AIDS. . . before the predictable, happy-ending fadeout. Despite the intended portrait of a misogynist (""He hated them all, the gaping, voracious cunts"") who turns into an '80s-style New Man, Taylor remains a bore and a boor throughout. Lewandowski's attempts at wit range from relentless puns to Taylor's reaction when he's impotent with Eleanor: He ""looked down mournfully and thought, this is how Dan Aykroyd must have felt when John Belushi died."" So, though occasionally striving for trendy sex-farce (… la Gall Parent) or psychosexual black-comedy (… la Thomas Berger), this first novel winds up as little more than a puerile, vulgar sit-corn: shallow people, unpleasant/unlifelike behavior--just about worth-less.

Pub Date: March 18th, 1985
Publisher: Morrow