M's Reviews > The Man of My Dreams

The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld
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's review
Aug 13, 09

Prep, this was not. I held off reading this in part because people said it wasn't nearly as good as Prep and in part because of the stupid title - how could a book be? Anyway it was in the apt we were staying in in Paris and I ran out of library books so I took it for Shabbos and figured it would at least be readable.
My issues are as follows: It's hard not to compare with prep especially sicne the protagonists are very similar - however, where Lee was, I felt, refreshing and charming while disarming, Hannah is one of two poles - obnoxious or dull. She is passive, hyper intense, and super critical of everyone around her without giving any sense that she is at all special herself. She doesn't have a single likeable trait and in fact is rather unlikeable, frequently. Instead of being Everywoman Deep Down Inside she just frustrated me by her constant fantasy life and no actual motion on her part in any meaningful way.
In addition,Sittenfeld 'Melissa Banks it up' with fragmented narrative such that I miss a lot of the action and get the sort of highlights. I didn't feel that worked here, it just created distance. THe last section of the novel and arguably the only one that is well written is a lot of rambling prose of how hannah has finally found herself, which just came off sounding trite and new wave psycho babble.
It seemed this was a good transition for her insipid and annoying protagonist in American Wife, and the prep days, alas, will not be revisited.
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message 4: by K (new)

K I wonder if your feelings would have been reversed had you read this one before Prep. Although I didn't read this, a lot of your complaints have been voiced by others about "Prep"'s protagonist.

message 3: by M (new) - rated it 2 stars

M I wondered that too, but I think Lee was a lot more developed and her context ws a lot more interesting to me. Anyway we are back, France was great!

message 2: by K (new)

K Some other goodreads reviewers seem to feel the way you do, that Lee was a more nuanced character. Can't wait to hear about France!

Patricia I really don't remember all that much about Prep, but I remember liking it. I just finished The Man of My Dreams in anticipation of Sittenfeld's new novel, which was not available at the library when I looked for it. Anyway, I agree with your assessment of the novel, especially Hannah's character. I thought it was dead-on. I just wrote a review of the book and although maybe I wasn't as harsh in my criticism, I still gave the book only 2 stars. I have not read American Wife but maybe at some point I will, depending on how well I like Sittenfeld's new book.

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