Sara's Reviews > The Family Man

The Family Man by Elinor Lipman
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Jan 01, 12

bookshelves: 2012, adult-fiction, did-not-finish
Read on January 01, 2012

This book plodded along, going nowhere, mainly fueled by dialogue from characters I didn't care about, and I had to put it down before even making it halfway through. It wasn't horrendous or completely unreadable, but it's also not a book worth reading or finishing.

Henry's a middle-aged gay man whose ex-wife calls him hysterically one day because her new husband has died without naming her the primary beneficiary of his estate. Meanwhile, Henry recognizes his ex-wife's daughter (Henry's ex-stepdaughter from about 25 years ago) Thalia from a salon he frequents and soon has reestablished a relationship with her, recognizing that he wasn't really around for any of the "hard" parts of raising her, and he becomes Thalia's new confidant as she tries to further her acting career.

The entire plot was a mess. It seemed like the author didn't know where to take the plot or care about the pacing because the majority of the book was conversations between Henry and either his ex-wife or his ex-stepdaughter. I think it was trying for light and fluffy - traits that I don't mind in books; sometimes I even seek out light and fluffy books! However, this particular book was just dumb. None of the characters were particularly likable or believable, and it didn't make for a good farce either (if that was indeed the intent; I have no clue). Henry constantly bemoans the fact that he didn't "fight harder" to stay in Thalia's life, even whining to her about this, despite the fact that he was married to her mom for a very brief time when she was a toddler and she was then adopted by her mom's new husband. Thalia doesn't seem to care one way or the other, and Henry continually marveled about how she was so well-adjusted. I couldn't conjure up any sympathy for any of the characters and started skimming when I realized that I just didn't care.
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