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The Man of My Dreams

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  10,993 ratings  ·  1,141 reviews
Hannah Gavener is fourteen in the summer of 1991. In the magazines she reads, celebrities plan elaborate weddings; in Hannah’s own life, her parents’ marriage is crumbling. And somewhere in between these two extremes--just maybe--lie the answers to love’s most bewildering questions. But over the next decade and a half, as she moves from Philadelphia to Boston to ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 10th 2007 by Random House Trade (first published January 1st 2006)
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Average rating 3.25  · 
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 ·  10,993 ratings  ·  1,141 reviews

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Julie Ehlers
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
As I've expressed on Goodreads before, I'm a Curtis Sittenfeld fan. I enjoy and admire the way she always presents a readable (and impeccably written) tale that expresses emotional truths in an "I-never-heard-it-put-quite-that-way" style. She's wise beyond her years but has a sense of humor about it.

The Man of My Dreams is Sittenfeld's second novel, but the fourth of hers I've read. Curtis herself has said she's talked people out of buying it (!), and that, plus the horrendous cover her
Sep 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one. No one at all!
I have been asked by a few people who enjoyed this book, why I gave it 1 star. So this is it:

1. I disliked hated all the characters, they annoyed me, especially the main character's, being inside her head was a very, very painful experience.

2. The main character was also a friggn nympho. All she thought about was getting down and doing the nasty and the opposite sex of course.

3. The plot. Could someone please tell me what it was? Was it just this girls life, because all it seems like is a recap
I loved the overall message of this novel: despite what society tells you, you cannot wait for a man to save you, you have to save yourself. I found so many of Hannah's feelings and thoughts relatable, like how she always wonders which man she will marry, or how she assumes that romantically partnered people have it better even when they do not, or how she finds intimacy in mediocre men to fill the void the patriarchy inscribes in so many of us. Even though I consider myself independent and ...more
For a moment I thought that Curtis Sittenfeld was going to give me what I wanted: a happy ending. No ambiguities and no doubts. Just happiness for our anxious protagonist Hannah: a shared apartment, evenings entangled on the couch in front of the television, Sunday morning brunches followed by Sunday afternoon antique shopping, an engagement, a wedding, a child—all with the man of her dreams.

Thank god I was wrong. Because what I want is not what I need. I want a book to delight, to entertain,
Jonna Rubin
Hm. I liked it -- really, I did -- and I LOVED Prep. But what Prep was that this isn't was multi-layered. While it was Lee Fiora's journey, it was also a lot more than that, not to mention a thrilling roman a clef, though Sittenfeld denies this.

Here, we're presented with a rehash of Lee Fiora, and quite honestly, that's all we're presented with, only this time, she's less interesting and focused on one thing only: relationships with the opposite sex. I think that's what bothered me the most.
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
knew as soon as I picked this up that I would fly through it, and not for any lack of weight on the part of the novel; it's just that I LOVE CURTIS SITTENFELD. Something about her clean, guileless style clicks with me and I hang on her every word, even when what she is saying makes me uncomfortable, which happens kind of a lot; what she writes about hits close to home with my own myriad issues. Sittenfeld's tell-it-like-it-is narrators, both here and in Prep, seem to find that secret place ...more
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
I know that a lot of people find Curtis Sittenfeld's characters too unlikable, but I think they are just so honest and real that they freak people out. I wasn't sure if I'd like this book as much as I loved Prep, but I think it's actually much more maturely written. I was sucked in immediately, as with Prep, and just find Hannah's insights to be, if frustrating or wrong sometimes, also quietly profound. I could barely put it down. It kept me up at night because I just couldn't stop reading it.

Mar 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-favorites
I really LOVED this book. It takes a lot to get a 5-star out of me, though...and I thought Prep still had it beat, so 4 stars it is.

Regardless, Sittenfeld is such an amazing author. Sometimes, when reading her books, I get distracted in thinking "she is SUCH a good writer" and I forget to follow the storyline and have to re-read. Few authors have this affect on me. I cherish the ones that do!

I love the flaws she gives her characters. They aren't the typical "boo-hoo i'm overweight and
Mar 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This novel covers similar ground to Sittenfeld’s Prep. In fact, it’s not hard to imagine it as the continued story of Prep’s insecure heroine, Lee, as she navigates college and post-college life. Unfortunately, though the writing style and themes are similar to Sittenfeld’s first novel, Man of My Dreams feels like the work of a far less mature author.

To put it bluntly, it’s a boring book. Boring and depressing. Sittenfeld’s previously-displayed flair for turning the banal into something
Megha Guruprasad
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'the Man of my Dreams' is the kind of book title that would make it very easy for me to toss aside in a book sale or something. Or if a fellow passenger were ever reading it, I'd jump to the conclusion that either she or her life were very dull.

When I read Curtis Sittenfeld's first novel Prep in 2005, I was all of 14 and it was for me one of the more important coming-of-age novels. And then I came across this one recently, I knew I had to read it despite the irksome title. This is the
Jul 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I read this book because the library happened to have it checked in while I wait for my requests to come in and I read Prep, which I enjoyed enough, but not as much as the critics did. Perhaps it is merely the timing, but The Man of My Dreams (and I would agree with previous reviewers in advising you to ignore the title--it's not really about the man, anyway) really had me examining my own life thus far and what I have learned about myself through my relationships as Hannah has. I am 28 as ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I could relate with Hannah's thoughts so much. The chapters felt more like little vignettes but I enjoyed how we followed Hannah's life (and how she remained true to herself). I loved how she questioned relationships (and marriage and sex and so many more things, like the way society tells women what they should or should not do).

This book felt more like an exploration of romantic relationships than an actual book with plot and developed secondary characters, and that's why I ended up
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Once again Curtis Sittenfeld has reached down into my pool of former insecurities and returned them right back to the surface. The strangest thing about reading Sittenfeld for me so far (I've only read Prep and now Man of My Dreams) is that it's fleetingly awful and wickedly wonderful all at the same time. For those of us who can identify with her neurotic main characters, in this case the main character of Hannah, there are moments where you want to shut the book because the author is hitting ...more
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what it is I don't like about Sittenfeld's novels. I didn't like Prep all that much, but others seem to enjoy her work, so I thought I'd give The Man of My Dreams a try. It was OK. Quick read. Could be nice on an airplane or as a book to keep in your bag to read while you wait in line or at the doctor's office. It just didn't really grab me. I didn't like really any of the characters, didn't empathize with them. At best, I felt sorry for them. Mostly I just wanted them to stop their ...more
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2006
As soon as I finished Prep, I immediately put this book on hold. It's Curtis Sittenfeld's second book and it just came out in May. After I finished Matilda, I started this book. I went into it with high expectations and it didn't catch me quite as quickly as Prep but then again it isn't the same book and I wouldn't want it to be. Over the last few days this book has really caught me and I'm loving it. I find myself, once again, really identifying with the main character Hannah. She's making so ...more
Oct 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
I read this book under protest, because I hated "Prep" (what a letdown after all the hype, especially since I've been obsessed with boarding school since reading "A Little Princess" at age six. Plus, I secretly resent people who are not much older than I am, yet manage to write bestsellers.) However, I can't get a library card until I can prove that I live in this godforsaken state, so I bought it for three bucks. Anyway, I thought it was lightyears better than "Prep," which sold way more copies ...more
Feb 03, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook at the gym. Initially I grabbed it off the free table at Word Bookstore in Greenpoint, BK when I saw that Anne Heche narrated it, and I'm sort of sickly drawn to her. Plus, people love Prep, which i still haven't read. Turns out, Anne Heche's not so good at New Zealand accents. Also, at making protagonists or any other characters even remotely sympathetic - her voice is so scratchy and sharp, and she makes all the women either sound pathetic, mean, or Valley. Heche ...more
Hannah Garden
Dec 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: december-2016
Aw, man. Curtis wtf.

There's so much good, smart stuff here, and then you just throw it all under the bus with your weird fucking shitty attitude about gayness and blackness. It's so fucking lame and boring and just like fucking disorienting, although I know part of being disoriented by people who think gayness and blackness are remarkable is a function of my lucky bubble I live in, and probably loads of folk in this stupid asshole country wouldn't even register the lame bummery stuff in here as
Jan 07, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: girlie-books
The main character like in the authors first book,"Prep", is a self-involved, miserable, jealous, personification of every negative stereotype that men say about women. This book sends an awful message to women. You are not incomplete without men. There is no perfect man and you do not have to pretend to be something you are not to get one and keep one. The only character in the book that likes herself and has any fun is painted throughout the novel to be an awful, selfish person. I will not ...more
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wow. I just finished this book and am dumbfounded by how emotional of a read this was. It actually made me uncomfortable at times. I don't think this is the book I would highly recommend to any of my friends to read. It would have to be their own find and I think that says something about me (for those of you who have read this book). I gave this book four stars because it is a wonderful story and well written and the ending was perfection. I have not read any of Sittenfeld's books before and am ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it liked it
OK, this is embarrassing. I didn't remember reading this book at all. I do think I'll remember this time. I was reading it to take a break from the many intense books I've read recently. Siri Hustvedt's book was intense in that it was so thick with philosophy and characters and poetry. It wasn't actually painful to read. Curtis Sittenfeld's books are social criticism...and in this book, Hannah, the protagonist begins with a horror of a family, becomes consumed with thoughts of males, her own ...more
Sep 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: the perpetually dateless, independent women, people who make poor relationship choices
this was curtis sittenfeld's second novel, the follow-up to prep. weirdly, her publishing house decided to market her books like chick lit, which they are totally not, so i think a lot of people picked this book up off a barnes & noble shelf labeled "beach reads" & felt really confused as they read. the protaganist is a young woman who isn't just unlucky in love. it's like she is missing whatever genetic component enables people to communicate with other people. while all of her friends ...more
Jennifer Johnson
May 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
Curtis Sittenfeld's The Man of My Dreams is another coming of age piece however this time written while the character ages to be much older than the last book. The main character, Hannah comes from a fairly disfunctional family, and as she experiences and is faced with different relationships, she's not quite sure how to navigate the complex feelings involved. I couldn't decide whether Hannah suffered from a low self esteem or if she was just horribly uneducated about how to feel, but the ...more
Jul 17, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cry as* white people.
Shelves: 2006booklist
This is a book that suffers from what I like to call “Cry Ass White People” syndrome. We follow the main character, Hannah, as she grows from a dysfunctional young girl to a dysfunctional young adult. Hannah had "been raised... not to be accommodated but to accommodate," Welcome self-esteem problems! Hannah seeks professional help while attending college (see cry-ass white people) and feels better about herself. Hannah finds thrills by being a *third wheel* tagging along with her fun-loving ...more
Dec 28, 2008 rated it did not like it
i don't know if i missed something while reading this, but it def wasn't worth the read. i read some other reviews and didn't particulary agree with them. it was an easy read, but there are plenty of others out there that aren't so self defecating.
Vicky Ball
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A little bit too close for comfort at times. Not quite the story of my life, but not that far off either.
Anna K. Amendolare
Jan 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
I really hated this book. I don't want that to reflect poorly on the author, As I'm sure she is a very good author, but I really dislike the book . I'm couldn't warm up to the main character initially, and as the book progressed I found myself disliking her more and more. Her insecurity was annoying especially considering she was a pretty girl and she did come from money: broken family not withstanding, she really had nothing to complain about. Even her cousin, at one point, calls her out on her ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This novel is one of Sittenfeld’s early novels, and it’s not her best, but I still enjoyed it. I love Sittenfeld’s honesty. She can present embarrassment and shame better than just about any other writer, making me cringe along with the protagonist. The plot was a bit all-over-the-place in this one, so I docked a star for that.
May 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-put-down
this was a book that I finished only because I hate putting a book down without seeing it through. At the conclusion of this book I wish that I had put it down early on when I wanted to. There isn't much character development, they all stay annoying the entire time, and the situations bother me. I would not recommend reading this one.
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Curtis Sittenfeld is the author of the new novel Eligible, a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice (due out April 2016) as well as the bestselling novels Sisterland, American Wife, Prep, and The Man of My Dreams, which have been translated into twenty-five languages. Curtis's writing has appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic, The New York Times, Vanity Fair,Time, Slate, Glamour, ...more
“Perhaps this is how you know you're doing the thing you're intended to: No matter how slow or how slight your progress, you never feel that it's a waste of time.” 58 likes
“I wanted to hold happiness in reserve, like a bottle of champagne. I postponed it because I was afraid, because I overvalued it, and then I didn't want to use it up, because what do you wish for then?” 39 likes
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