BEHIND EVERYMAN by David Israel

BEHIND EVERYMAN

A Novel for Guys and the Women Who Rescue Them
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Breezy comic guide to dating, with a touching love story nestled inside.

The title does not mislead. Professional musician Israel’s first novel really can be enjoyed by both genders, even though the second-person narrator, that’s you, is a guy in search of a “snowflake” (the soulmate, the perfect fit). And the second-person narration doesn’t wear out its welcome, as the pronoun is often suppressed in favor of crisp directions (“produce a witty line . . . ”). So: You’re in your late 20s, new to the big city (New York, of course), starting to write screenplays, with a boring day job as an administrative assistant. You’re into sports (not overemphasized) and you like kids. Inevitably, you gravitate to the Internet and find a potential snowflake, even though she lives with her parents on “please god noooo, Long Island.” Sonja is 30, working on a master’s thesis in child education, and suffers from the enervating Epstein-Barr syndrome. But never mind all that: The first kiss leaves you in no doubt that you’ve found your snowflake. It’s simply icing on the cake that Sonja shows you how to master Access (you’d lied at your interview) and can even replace your toilet tank ball. Much of this is incorporated into your screenplay, and dissected by you and your shrink. Meeting the folks? That’s always good for a laugh. Where Israel scores is in the ingenious use of his material. A panel discussion on the novel-into-movie The Hours is fodder for more laughs at the narrator’s expense, but later becomes the surprising trigger for a mutual declaration of love. Eventually, there will be a Big Problem and a parting, but all is not lost: You get a job offer to write sitcoms in LA. And you and Sonja? Could that be a twist ending up the screenwriter’s sleeve?

Israel is a budding comic talent, a guide so likable we overlook the familiarity of the terrain. Think of this as a tasty appetizer, just the thing for that long flight.

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 2005
ISBN: 0-345-47660-3
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2004