Bookwomyn, February 7, 2012 (view all comments by Bookwomyn)
What an enjoyable read! As a woman 'of a certain age' who did her share of dating after being widowed, many of the situations in this book strike a chord. Edward is such a likable character and the women in his life know it. I started this book on a lazy morning and didn't stop reading til I finished. It's a lovely companion for a rainy day - or a plane ride - or bedtime read.
Denise Morland, January 25, 2012 (view all comments by Denise Morland)
In this quiet little book about love and loss Hilma Wolitzer has the winning formula for a novel worked out. Make your readers fall in love with the main character, make them adore him and you can't go wrong. By the time Edward Schuyler is done telling the reader about his ill-fated romance with Laurel (she left him at the altar) and how Bee (his recently deceased wife) was the love of his life, you want nothing less than happiness for him. He is so gentle, kind, and clueless that you can forgive him his indiscretions.
When Edwards beloved wife, Bee, falls terminally ill she tells him "Look at you. They'll be crawling out of the woodwork." Oblivious, he has no idea what she's talking about until months after her death when the phone begins ringing with lonely women looking for an available man. His stepchildren only escalate things when they place a personal ad for him in the New York Times Book Review. Soon women are, indeed, crawling out of the woodwork and Edward has no idea what to do with them.
As you would expect, An Available Man is by turns funny, heartbreaking, and live affirming. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a feel-good, uplifting read.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Wolitzer (Summer Reading) looks at life after death; the life, that is, of a youngish widower after the death of his much loved wife. Families are Wolitzer's turf, and she's an observant and often humorous chronicler of domesticity and the stuff that comes with it: illness, loss, boredom, crankiness, and, on good days, love. Her main character, science teacher Edward Schuyler, is likable and believable, both in his grief and his confusion when interested women start coming out of the woodwork. When one turns out to be from his past, things take a slightly melodramatic turn, and though never escalating to a level of serious danger, the threat is there. Or perhaps the threat of a threat; it feels as if Wolitzer wants to heighten and defuse at the same time. Of course 'domestic' doesn't mean safe, and we're supposed to share in Edward's unease and in his hope that all will be well, but the effect is more irritating than suspenseful. When tension is packed off in a few pages in favor of a happy ending for all, it's both a relief — we've gotten fond of Edward and want the best for him — and a disappointment, because of how contrived it feels." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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