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The Frog King: A Love Story
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The Frog King: A Love Story

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  1,064 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Harry Driscoll is living in New York City (if you call trying to survive on an editorial assistant's salary "living").

His family is wealthy (but Harry Driscoll is not).

His education is Ivy League (but what good is it doing him?).

His publishing job is entry level (with no exit in sight).


Harry Driscoll has a dream (if you call an unfinished manuscript hidden
Paperback, 316 pages
Published August 6th 2002 by Penguin Putnam Inc (first published 2002)
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Oh man. This book caused in me all sorts of crises. Pretty much I hated it, but not exactly for all the right reasons. I mean, some were the right reasons, like how the characters, while kind of well-developed, were still completely unbelievable in how they related to one another, and how the plot was pretty formulaic & flat. Also, it paints this terrible picture of New Yorkers, especially vis á vis the homeless (except for the "redemption" at the end, which was so corny and again unbelievab ...more
Aug 16, 2007 Jessa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who's ever wondered what happily ever after REALLY means
Shelves: oldfaithful
This book claims on the back cover that is is "NOT a fairytale", and couldn't be more right. It's a real look into the mind of a guy just like anybody; a guy trying to catch a break (at any cost) in a world that seems out to get him...a guy who loves words and hates his roommate. A guy who got the girl, but can't seem to keep her.

I don't really know if I connect with this book because I feel like I *am* the main character, or because I've just dated many of his ilk. Adam Davies provides a whirl
I didn't like this book almost from the start, it uses many big words but puts them too close together and does not use them well, and the entire story is this really crappy guy writing exactly the story he spends all his time ripping on other slushies for submitting to the publishing firm he works for. I kept reading it because I always hope things will get better. They don't. Harry is annoying, the story is annoying, and most of it feels fake. The only believable part, to me, was the goriest s ...more
I saw this in the library a few days after I stumbled across it on Goodreads, and I have to say, the title is somewhat misleading. First off, I've read few novels with a less sympathetic narrator. I mean, I'm young, and broke, and live in the city, and it's always nice to read about other folks in the same situation... but I'm not SO broke that I steal condiments from bars to make meals out of, and can only afford to wash my clothes so infrequently that they're dirty enough that they give me a r ...more
I don't like this book enough to write a review twice. I had written a review but then something happened and I lost it. Suffice it to say that his usage of words interfered with the flow of the book sometimes. Sometimes the usage were cleaver and sometimes it just felt banal.

The book is well written and kept me involved in the plot but I think that at the end of it all, the book could have used plot development as well as character development. I also think that it was trying to hard to be a l
Evelyn H
I'm a bit biased for reasons I won't disclose, but I think I'm being fair in my assessment. I really wanted to love this book, and I did not dislike it (though I did dislike the main character, even though the author tried to give him redeeming qualities). Instead, I enjoyed it for what it is, a first time lad lit genre story. Anyone who has struggled as a twenty something in NYC will get some chuckles. Davies is talented, has an expansive vocabulary, and writes well. I look forward to reading m ...more

I couldn't put this down, couldn't stop thinking about it. Davies' vocabulary is far better than mine, but so many of his sentences were magical that I was compelled to read with a pencil in one hand to underline passages that moved me. My copy is covered in graphite. One of the best books I've read--it made me introspective and set me on a roller coaster of thoughts, memories, purpose. I'm disappointed it's over.
This book was a bit twee, but I didn't entirely dislike it. A rather accurate and darkly humorous depiction of the publishing industry, though, which was probably my favorite part of this as a fellow pub-biz insider. Evie (Harry's love interest) is a bit of a MPDG (manic pixie dream girl), although I did find myself interested and intrigued by her, and Harry is a rather big arsehole, which makes you wonder why on earth Evie likes him except then you remember (if you're a woman in her 20s or earl ...more
Barbara ★
I didn't like this book right from the start. By page 8, I was already skipping paragraphs of nonsensical prose.

Tonight however I'm already getting into trouble. Tonight I've already flirted (snicker-snack!) with the woman in the Machiavellian miniskirt and the bioluminescent makeup; the woman who had a mouth like a broken promise; the ballet dancer who was so nice that it obliterated her personality; the woman I know sits around her apartment with heavily impasto makeup and Nina Simone CD playi
Kieran Walsh
What can you say about a book with a character that is so nasty, self serving, spoilt, an over-educated wasp who only redeems himself at the last chapter? If it weren't for Adam Davies beautiful style of acerbic and witty english I'd have given him a 1 star. It was interesting, given the stream of chick lit books that were bupbished since the days of Bridget Jones - young, smart, pennliless, under utilized, dating-bad-boyfriend (while mr perfect is in the appartment one floor below), beautiful a ...more
This crisp novel is the ultimate young-guy-gets-his-shit-together story. It's about figuring out life and love, and it's a reminder that, even when it seems like the loss of the latter precludes the progress of the former, the big wheel keeps on turning (the novel is also, often, a biting criticism of cliché, while maybe also being an acknowledgement of the universality of ideas that do, in fact, become clichés - it is at once an indictment of the obvious when it is cheap and an acceptance of th ...more
Steve Rauscher
Having recently read a few incredibly deep books consecutively, it was refreshing to pick up The Frog King in all its quirky glory. Davies is an incredible writer of story, as the episodes he creates for the world of Harry Driscoll seem almost too impossibly ridiculous and detailed to be figments of the author's imagination; almost as if Davies himself had to live through and experience each, from routinely "cannonballing" a lover in the throes of endmetriosis to subsisting almost entirely off o ...more
Michael Edwards
I really need to start avoiding the young-man-in-big-city genre of books. There is something about them that just seems phony to me. They indirectly suggest to me that this is normal living on top of masses of lower living, that this is the way REAL life is. Call me defensive, it's O.K.

There is no doubt that Adam's prose is masterful. After all, he is an English professor. I would say he wasted it on this slow moving journalistic ranting about his protagonist's aboriginal life, but I'm the one t
Harry Driscoll is a fabulous creation. Selfish, egotistical, drunken, unfaithful and whiny, he commands the attention with his blind self-absorption and blithe conviction that he deserves a better life. He’s asthmatic, breaks into hideous rashes, drinks too much and cheats on his girlfriend with sad regularity. But he’s an utterly alive creation, witty, occasionally profound and articulate. Every page throbs with his bitter, caustic outlooks on life, love (the forbidden word) and his utter detes ...more
I'm really ambivalent about this book. I happen to know that the person who wrote it was in his twenties when this came out, so I want to give some consideration to the maturity of the artist in that respect because the best I can describe this is that it's an old, familiar story with fresh and lively elements to it. It's the story about a guy (in his twenties, of course) who has trouble with commitment, which is to say, same ole, same ole. There is no compelling reason why he should cheat on th ...more
Abigail Hillinger
Apr 18, 2007 Abigail Hillinger rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anybody who screwed it up the first time around.
Shelves: fiction
"Viva La Evie. Viva la viva la viva."

Never will I hear "Viva La..." without thinking of poor Harry, the hero that I didn't want to like but ended up loving.

The Frog King was a hard read. Not because it wasn't written well, or because the plot was unbelievable. It was because you, as the reader, are following around a masochistic character who hates his job at a publishing house (but refuses to get out of it), wants to be promoted (but loses important material purposefully and leaves work without
I found this book endlessly frustrating. Besides Davies trying so hard for people to like his writing and to make his plot and style hip, cutting edge, and daring, he just falls flat. Much like his main character, Harry Driscoll, Davies' writing is inherently infuriating because it just doesn't get it - it never actually succeeds in realizing its own flaws and correcting them. The tragically late climax in the novel does address Harry's faults and highlights his attempts to transform his own beh ...more
I bought this book because it was written by a University of Georgia professor, but it ended up sitting on my shelf for a while. I picked it up again after reading a review that compared it to Bright Lights Big City--one of my favorite books. The storyline is similar--i.e. young guy in publishing on the path to self-destruction--but the characters are not nearly as sympathetic. The beauty of Bright Lights Big City is the way that the reader is drawn into the narrator's plight and his sincere eff ...more
I liked this book. As a first novel, i thought that Davies was spot on. It read a little bit like a movie thus I am intensely excited as I heard that Bret Easton Ellis is adapting this book for the big screen. It was actually Ellis' review comparing this book with Jay McInerney's 'Bright Lights, Big City' that made me want to pick the book up in the first place. Very young-and-confused-in-the-big-apple just as most reviewers promised... and even though it says that it is a love story right on th ...more
My friend Dave said, "even if you're not trying you'll finish this book in a week." He was correct. Beyond just making me really wish I had more to offer this world in the way of vocabulary, this story hit home in some scary sorts of way.

The lead is a downtrodden editor, not so freshly out of college, trying to survive on meager pay in NYC. Of course, he is in love with a girl--his girlfriend for all intents and purposes--but he can't quite admit it to her. Tie in a self-addressed drinking prob
I loved this book. It was funny and completely REAL. The ending was perfect. The Frog King is definitely not a fairytale, and I spent a large part of the book waiting for Harry to change. He was a complete jerk obsessed with making his life better in a materialistic way. The author's use of big words added a sort of underlying cockiness to the book. Birdie, a young homeless girl, was a great character. She was sarcastic and annoying in the best way possible, and made you care about her. The nega ...more
Beth Donahoe
I mostly wanted to read this book because I wanted to work for a book publishing company, and this book did a good job of revealing what is like to work in book publishing. The book covers the history of words and Davies writes beautifully and lovingly. I recommend this book.
Jenny Stracener
Dec 30, 2008 Jenny Stracener rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: girls who like male points of view in texts
Recommended to Jenny by: Shealin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
it's one of those i'm-alone-in-the-world-feel-sorry-for-me type books, but soooo much better than dave eggers' a heartbreaking story of staggering genius.

i found the author's banter very witty. especially when the main character has all sorts of ridiculous rules for staying single, and all sorts of inside jokes. It made me think to myself that i'd like to be more that way.... but that it's just not my nature to have inside jokes. i probably just have very simple dialog running through my head.
Kelli Lee
Nov 17, 2010 Kelli Lee marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: contemporary
I have had this book resting on my bookshelf for probably eight years. In that time, I have tried on numerous occasions to read it. What is the farthest I have read you might ask? The first few chapters. I feel like I'm in Groundhog Day each and every time I pick up this book. And for the life of me I don't even know how this book ended up in my possession. Was it a gift? Beats me. If so, the gift-er doesn't know my tastes whatsoever. I wish I knew who it was, because I'd so love re-gifting this ...more
I picked up the book when I heard that it concerned an editorial assistant, and that the movie was in production. Also, Bret Easton Ellis called it 'funny.'

I started reading while standing up at Barnes and Noble, and after the fantastic first pages I bought a cup of coffee and sat down. The guy hated his life, he worked a job I once had, and he was wordy. I kept waiting for the sophomoric tone to delve into deeper themes but the book just never seemed to take off. Brilliantly drawn characters,
Anna Engel
I hate Harry Driscoll. I know he's supposed to be a cad, but I despise him. He's clever and witty, but he's mostly a dick. I stopped reading and don't regret that decision a bit.
Davies' first book is a lot like his second. The narrator is really unlikable and writing has the aura of trying too hard. But I read the whole book, so I guess it's not so bad.
I had to force myself through the first chapters of this book before I found myself actually wanting to read it, probably because those chapters were filled with several terms that had yet to be defined and so I felt like, where is he going with this? Once I started to see the plot and learn more about the characters the book did pick up for me. I think the characters were pretty origional, but relatable as well, and as a "Love Story" I think this was a good one. It defintely does have lessons t ...more
I feel like I liked this much more than Davies' second book, Goodbye Lemon. The story in this first novel was, I found, more realistic, more believable. The more I think about the two books, however, I realize that the character development was either non-existent or too big of a jump. I realize that each character was consistently doing things which were out of character.
But it wasn't a cookie-cutter novel. I have a hard time when everything, everyone, is put in their place for me. This didn't
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Mansfield Public ...: The Frog King Review by Julie Richards 1 4 Aug 19, 2013 09:31AM  
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Adam Davies was born in Louisville, KY. He is the author of three novels: The Frog King, soon to be a major motion picture starring Joseph Godron-Levitt, with a script by Bret Easton Ellis; Goodbye Lemon, a family drama; and Mine All Mine, which was purchased for film with the author to write the screenplay. Adam's non-fiction has appeared in the New York Times and he has made many appearances on ...more
More about Adam Davies...
Goodbye Lemon Mine All Mine Manbeasts: A Personal Investigation

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“[T]here is nothing worse than doing what you don't want to do, day after day, to little renummeration or applause. It's the death of your soul.” 9 likes
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