The Quest for an Authentic Life
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 Smarmy advice on how to conduct your life from Bode (First You Have to Row a Little Boat, 1993, etc.). Jettisoning a marriage of 30 years, Bode takes to the beachcomber's life along California's lovely Miramar coast. He troops up and down the strand, musing on the human condition. These pensÇes are the fruits of his ambulations. He cherishes the child's wonder, the free life: ``Like a migratory bird, I move by instinct, my behavior governed by forces beyond myself.'' Vraiment. But without leisure and means, said lifestyle is little more than figment. The force at work here is of the white-male-with-connections variety; soft touchdowns await, a phone call away. Money is vulgar, Bode informs readers, then churlishly turns on his wife over their settlement. ``I had earned the money, but I didn't need it. She hadn't earned the money, but she did need it . . . She acquired financial security; I purchased my freedom.'' Such honesty, hombre. Money is vulgar, though he would be nowhere without its reference points. ``I might have been a millionaire; I mean that literally.'' He was a successful public relations man; big bucks awaited; he declined (though the river ran deep and Bode knew where to cast): ``It astounds me when I think of the courage it takes to live, to behave as we want to.'' Most of his time is spent otherwise: crawling over parental injustices, dismissively laughing at a man confusing a sea lion with a dog, patronizing a relative who abandoned the piano. Follow your star, urges Bode, even in a relationship: ``He can have his perceptions and she can have hers and the two don't have to jibe.'' A couple of pages later, though, he notes what a shame it is when two people ``don't respond to the world about them in the same way.'' Pretentious, aimless, worthless. (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 6th, 1996
ISBN: 0-446-51867-0
Page count: 224pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1996