THE NOT-SO-PERFECT MAN by Valerie Frankel


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Intersecting lives, lonely New Yorkers.

Frankel (The Accidental Virgin, 2002, etc.) moves from smart-mouthed singles to miserable marrieds: Frieda Schast, a young widow still wed in spirit to a beloved husband who died of cancer; Ilene, her weight-obsessed sister, unhappily married to portly Peter; Georgia, a disillusioned wife about to shed her confused husband David—in short, a dispirited bunch of typical New Yorkers still looking rather glumly for love. Frieda isn’t interested in fooling around with Roger, the entomologist Ilene found under some rock and insists that she date. After all, her late husband Gregg was The One—anybody else is going to be The Two, and making an effort for Roger the Bugman hardly seems worth it. But Ilene is a nagger, nudge, and compulsive fixer-upper, strenuously avoiding her own issues (infertility, for one) by well-intended meddling. Not that anyone is exactly grateful. Betty Schast, the dowdy single sister, works at a chain bookstore and doesn’t even want to think about sex, until Earl, an electrician, does something indefinable to her wiring. Frieda, a picture framer, thinks it all over rather numbly as she begins an affair with a younger man, Sam, an actor with commitment issues. How will this affect her suddenly fatherless son Justin? Frieda’s therapist advises caution, but wise words are no substitute for the sexual healing that Sam provides. Peter, grappling with his weight problem, is accused by Ilene, who has jealousy issues, of cheating on her with his nutritionist. Segue to Georgia and David’s myriad woes, back to mopey Frieda, detour to nutty Betty, pick up where Ilene and Peter left off—yes, love is a minefield, and happiness lies somewhere on the other side.

Strained effort from Frankel, written soon after the untimely death of her own husband. Sadly, it shows.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-06-053668-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2004


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