What happens to two decades of friendship when two good-looking college buddies with opposite personality traits who have come to depend on each other for mutual support fall for the same woman? Should finder's keeper rule, or should the "better" man prevail?
This "bromance" novel is narrated by David and is, therefore, told from his point of view. David was the first to make eye contact with Camille, but being the shy, introverted, and socially awkward one, he initially let gregarious Alex do all the work for him -- striking up conversations with her, getting her name and phone number, introducing him to her.
Should it come as a surprise then that Alex made more of an impression on Camille than David?
At the end of a subsequent get-together one evening, David walked in on Alex and Camille making lovey-dovey moves. Silently furious, David walked out on them. When he and Alex next caught up with each other, David accused Alex of stealing Camille from him, but Alex tried to explain that Camille wasn't even aware of David's interest in her, that she was the one who initiated the moves, and that they both had just realized they had fallen for each other.
Distraught, David tried to shut both Alex and Camille out of his life, but that didn't last for long. Realizing that he might not want to throw away 20 years of friendship with Alex, he decided to reconcile with Alex, who had persisted in reaching out to him, assuring him that Camille wasn't just a fling like the many ones David had known Alex to have had.
But did David really put his friendship with Alex above his strong feelings for Camille, like he had thought Alex should have done for him? Could David really trust Alex to love Camille the way he would have? Would he ever let Camille know his love for her? Would his friendship with Alex really survive?
The turn of events that leads us to the somewhat abrupt ending had me telling myself: Hmmm ... I think I can accept that resolution.
With such a promising plot, this novel could have been a really compelling one had the writing and storytelling, in my opinion, been less flat and monochromatic. By this I mean, instead of every other encounter starting with repetitive and dull pleasantries such as "I haven't seen or heard from you for a long time. How are you?", maybe the author could have conjured up something more imaginative? Also, I can understand the intense longing that David has for Camille, but could we enliven things up a little bit and have the characters show a wider range of emotions? Finally, given that mixed signals and misconstruals were important plot elements in this novel, I thought that letting David, Alex, and perhaps even Camille take turns sharing their own intimate thoughts with the readers, relating how certain incidents might or might not have impacted them personally, in a point-counterpoint style could add texture to the story. Some authors (for example, Peter Hedges in The Heights) have used this interesting storytelling device to good effects; I thought it could work well for this novel as well.
My rating: 3.5 stars!