February 12, 2012

Three and a Half Virgins by John Blumenthal

On the evening of Jimmy Hendricks' 40th birthday, his wife announces that she's had an affair with their neighbor and wants a divorce. This sends him into a tailspin, and he begins to regret certain things in his past, especially the way he treated certain women he'd deflowered. At the prompting of a poker buddy he sets out on a quest to track these women down and apologize to them.

When I read the description of this book, it reminded me of the cult classic High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. And as I read the book, there were other things that reminded me of -well- other things. The main character's struggle with his famous name is like that of Michael Bolton's in Office Space. The friend who struggles with halitosis and therefore speaks unintelligibly through a scarf is named Kenny, a la South Park. Author John Blumenthal's impressive portfolio -co-writer of Blue Streak, a hilarious movie, former editor for Playboy magazine, and contributor to The Huffington Post- seemed like a guarantee of an enjoyable read, yet it all felt flat to me. Blumenthal presents scenarios with potential, but they never got off the ground, at least not on my airfield.

All is not lost. The trouble is, I'm a woman, and a difficult one to please; an even more difficult one to get a laugh out of. I believe Three and a Half Virgins was at heart meant to be a man's book. If my husband read this book (he's too busy reading sales manuals), he'd love it. Case in point, it was my husband that pointed out to me that there were three and a half cherries on the cover, which got an eyeroll out of me and a chuckle out of him.

And there is a message here. One more comparison to be made. One of my favorite books, The Alchemist, tells the story of a boy whose search for treasure brings him right back to his starting place, teaching us that while we may go on epic quests to follow our dreams, our treasure is often found in what we already have. Jimmy Hendricks seems to come to that conclusion at the end of the book, he just doesn't seem very bowled over by it. Women like to be bowled over, and you can take that any way you like.

I received a copy of this book for the purpose of review.

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