The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P by Adelle Waldman

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I came back from Whidbey a day early, and I was ill all day, and I walked around my house when I wasn’t lying in bed. I kept being asleep and then being awake and my friend Lisa was sick so we compared symptoms. I needed to come home.

What I’ve been reading is The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P and I am madly in love with it, I want everyone to read it. For years my friend Elizabeth Gold has been explaining the New York dating scene to me, but this book really gives that story.

Elizabeth is very beautiful and smart, yet dating men in New York proved challenging until she found the love of her life, Daniel Felsenfeld, the composer of The Inner Circle, for which I’ve written the libretto. She told me stories of the New York men never happy with a woman, always assuming someone out there had the perfect laugh, the perfect breasts, the perfect brain—not too big and not too small.

Waldman’s book is told from the point of view of Nate, a serial dater. He isn’t a bad guy, but although he doesn’t seem like that big of a catch—he lives in a dirty little place in Brooklyn in an area that is NOT Park Slope and he has a bit of a paunch, but he really just wants casual relationships with women who read, are witty have a butt that wiggles and breasts that suffice, but don’t have anything too big wrong with them. He thinks he’s all that, but he’s just a writer. Not a movie star. And eventually, since he’s looking, he finds something wrong with all of them.

The main character is not appealing, but I followed him around like a puppy dog from page to page. It wasn’t Nate so much that I followed but Waldman. I wanted more of her delicious voice, her witticisms, her sly observations of human existence. She watches everything carefully, the students at Harvard who all seem to have rich parents and cabins in the woods. What I really like is the way he deliberately picks apart each woman he is with. It is though he believes that he has a right to the perfect woman. A woman who exactly suits his needs. You’re thinking I already hate this guy! But you don’t. He’s every man. He’s a quick witted person who wants everyone else to be quick witted too. But, he’s also a slow bear who moves in the world as if everyone should be giving him honey. This story lets you climb into a man’s head and you may not like what you find there. I encourage you to remember that this isn’t everyone’s head. He has certain sexual fantasies; not all men have the same sex fantasies. It’s a book women will love reading and men will argue over. This guy’s head is worth getting into. You won’t regret it.

I want to meet this author. And her husband too. I have questions for him.

Published in: on August 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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