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An Accidental Tourist's Summer of Self-Discovery in Martha's Vineyard

by Paul Samuel Dolman

Pub Date: June 3rd, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-59240-826-9
Publisher: Gotham Books

Light, summery memoir of a journey toward healing from a relationship gone slightly sour.

Once a successful entrepreneur in the music industry in Nashville, Dolman (What Matters Most: Intimate Interviews with Notable Nashvillians, 1997) found himself wanting an indefinable something more than his big house and trophy wife. So he sold his business and traveled west to California, where strange coincidences led him to meet a woman he almost instantly considered his soul mate. To his great surprise and bitter disappointment, the relationship did not survive the couple’s return to Nashville, where “the Miracle” (as he refers to the otherwise unnamed woman throughout the book) wanted more of a commitment than he did and began looking for it with someone else. Devastated by this apparent betrayal—not just by the woman but also by the universe—Dolman went to his octogenarian parents’ summer home on Martha’s Vineyard to lick his wounds for a couple of weeks. He wound up spending an entire season there, hitchhiking and biking the island with no larger agenda than eating donuts and ice cream, swimming and sunbathing, and meeting random Vineyard denizens, including, yes, Larry David of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame. The first conversation between Dolman (hitchhiker) and David (ride purveyor) is the highlight of the book, not because of anything the two strangers discuss but due to the fact that David’s acerbic misanthropy adds a delightfully real contrast to the otherwise sugary-sweet goings-on. Dolman was once a motivational speaker, and it shows. He approaches most conversations like group therapy, where everyone shares Oprah-like wisdom about the pains and joys of life, but nothing goes much deeper than standard Hollywood “life lessons.”

Pleasant enough beach reading for romantics and believers in fate but probably not for fans of Larry David.