The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman (3 out of 5)


I got a copy of this directly from the publisher, Henry Holt & Co. (The blog must be on their dashboard, all of a sudden I’ve been deluged with titles. Keep em coming!). I hadn’t asked for it, but it had been a book that I had in my rearview mirror. Mostly due to the fact that it’s a treatise about relationships between men and women, from the viewpoint of the man, one writer named Nate Piven. Nate’s rising career and star attract the attention of a number of women in his immediate circle; Elisa, Juliet, and Hannah, the one who may actually be “The One” (and a friend of Elisa’s, but that’s just a small detail in Nate’s cog). His relationship with Hannah, despite his own protestations, gets progressively more serious, leading Nate to take a memory trip down the long & winding road of his littered emotional past. There’s a lot of conversation with Nate and these women- he doesn’t just silently chase, pounce, and then walk away- he gets to know them, their foibles, their fetishes, and their typical “female mentality”, before he tries to woo them into a relationship. He has a lot of questions, a lot of doubts, and there’s a lot of self-recrimination with Nate- which is why I LOVED him as a character. I loved the male perspective. This isn’t a Springer or a Maury episode, it’s a well thought out treatise on men and women, the attraction, the annihilation, the beginning, middle, and end. Nate begins to mature and move on from his bad habits of love em and leave em for the next brainy professor, and falls in love with Hannah. So of course, the first time you actually fall in a long, long time, and what happens? Life happens. The woman dooms the relationship by freaking the hell out (note to anyone reading it: If you have any doubts, issues, or romantic visions dancing around your silly little head whilst reading this, abandon them. This will NOT help! Take my word on it).

What I really liked about this was how Nate talks his decisions and indecisions through to the reader. So when things do happen and shit gets real, the reader isn’t terribly surprised. The women? Oh yes, they’re surprised, but hey- isn’t that true with life? We’re always surprised, and we should see this shit coming a million yards away! Nate doesn’t pull punches, no excuses are made for his oft piss poor behavior, but when he does get stepped on (and hard), you can’t help but feel bad for the poor guy. I really liked the character. In an unusual twist of fate, I did NOT like the women in the story; Juliet was an overemotional life raft out in the middle of her own drama-filled sea. Elisa was an intelligent, beautiful, overly needy extrovert who realizes too late that her chance (Nate) has passed her by. And Hannah? Hannah pissed me off the most. She enters into this relationship with Nate as somewhat of a “friends with benefits” sort of deal, but Nate is nothing if not charismatic and persuasive, and she gives it a go. Except you can feel her holding back, judging him and the entire thing, and just waiting for her prime moment to dump this poor guy. Yes, reader, I am taking the MAN’s side here! As the relationship with these two grows more serious, the book loses a bit of levity, Nate takes a hit to his believability when he doesn’t see the giant chainsaw coming through the trees for him, and I lost interest. I finished it, and I wasn’t real pleased with what took place toward the end. I wish that Waldman had kept Nate talking at the leisurely, semi-personal way he was through the book, and not had him fallen victim to the Spider Woman. So really, that’s when I lost it with this one. Prior to that, digging this book big time. I have a feeling when you guys see what I am reading now and when I review it, you’ll wonder at where my mind is currently at with my choices of reading.
Truth? No idea! None. I would say this is a good, quick read at the male psyche and the way they look at women, sex, and relationships..but prepare to want to punch the women. Which is NOT a message I want to send, but that’s the message you come away from the book with. No Bueno.

~ by generationgbooks on April 7, 2015.

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