HANDY AS I WANNA BE by Vince Rause


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A first novel about obsessive household handyman who drives his wife to distraction. Most women have to nag their husbands to fix the doorbell or replace a worn washer in the bathtub faucet, but there are sins of commission, too—and Vinnie Agita provides a casebook study of them. An all-weather tinkerer with his brains in his fingers, Vinnie’s head has room for only two obsessions: his love for his wife Angie, and his never-ending improvement schemes. It can certainly make life easier to live with someone who knows how to stop a toilet tank from sweating, but now Vinnie’s schemes are getting more and more grandiose, prompting him to tear up the entire back yard, for example, to see how far down the ugly concrete patio installed by the previous owner really goes. Later, he decides to test the security of his home in the most natural way he can imagine—by trying to break into it in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, he keeps his brainstorm a secret from Angie, who calls the cops and has him booked for prowling. Once she realizes her mistake, of course, she straightens things out with the law—but only on the condition that Vinnie seek professional help (and not for his carpentry, either). How can a real man like Vinnie be expected to get on a couch for 50 minutes a week without fixing the upholstery? Vinnie’s shrink Nick Ruffalfalo quickly sees the shape of things and works out a novel scheme: he and Vinnie will renovate Nick’s house together. Between wiring, plastering, painting, and sanding, Nick comes to know Vinnie pretty well, and by the time they—re done Vinnie has traced the roots of his obsession as clearly as a circuit diagram. Will everything hold up once they—ve finished their work together? Well, there’s no guarantee like good workmanship. Good-natured fun, but a bit too cute for comfort: a clever idea that gets played out way before story’s end.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-671-03284-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1999


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