Sunday, July 19, 2009

THE MAN OF MY DREAMS by Curtis Sittenfeld (2006)

Hannah Gavener is 14 in the summer of 1991 when her parents decide to split and she is sent to live temporarily with her Aunt Elizabeth. Hannah has always been something of a loner, in fact, often prefers the quiet of her own company through adolescence and into her university years. She finally makes friends with Jenny at Tufts where she studies Art History, and has a succession of boyfriends, but is not so sure that she will ever meet the man of her dreams, as it appears her older sister Allison has done in finding and marrying Sam.

We follow Hannah for fourteen years and realize, as she eventually does herself, that you can't blame your adult failures on your messed-up childhood.

But, don't take my word for it that this novel is worth your while. Take the word of Alice Munro, this year's Man Booker International Prize winner, who wrote: "THE MAN OF MY DREAMS is so free of tricks, the honesty is so startling, you feel there's a writer here who isn't trying to beguile you but to lay out some plain, raw truth about emotions and sex. This is a courageous, refreshing novel."

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