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Love Monkey: A Novel Hardcover – Jan 22 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (Jan. 22 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060574534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060574536
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,605,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Smith has clearly taken lessons from a few successful writers of chick lit ("Days Without Sex: 0"), but his boy version of Bridget Jones lacks the key ingredient: a sympathetic protagonist. Tom Farrell, 32, lives in Manhattan and works at a publication called Tabloid (a dead ringer for the New York Post), which proudly proclaims itself to be "America's loudest newspaper." Farrell's job is that of "rewrite man," redoing stories by shaping them into salacious shorts and then coming up with eye-catching headlines. As he puts it, however, his "most time-consuming hobby is collecting ex-girlfriends," and the novel-which chronicles five months in Farrell's life-is mostly a jumbled catalogue of his failed love affairs. There's Julia, a co-worker Farrell can't get out of his head; Bran, a platonic friend he might try to get into his bed; Katie, a budding lawyer; and Liesl, an earnest German paralegal. Smith, the book and music review editor at People magazine, writes in glossy and accessible magazine prose (Farrell describes a co-worker as "a girl whose hotitude was... off the charts") and his New York patter can be clever. Searching for its place somewhere between Nick Hornby in subject matter and David Sedaris in its wit, this novel rests uneasily between the two. Publishing and journalism insiders will enjoy Smith's spot-on description of the tabloid life, but women looking for insights into the male psyche, the real potential readership here, may not take kindly to Smith's unflattering dissection of his dates. Still, this is a lively, promising debut.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Tom Farrell--single, 32, smart, caustic, and often drunk--is a "rewrite" wiz at a "real tabloidy tabloid" in New York City and in desperate need of a mate. But so intent is he on acting the part of a witty, laidback, sensitive lover boy that none of the gorgeous, intelligent, and cutthroat women he woos takes him seriously, especially his obsession, the wretchedly manipulative Julia. Basically, this debut novel is a jejune tale of unrequited love sloppily tied to 9/11. But Smith, the book and music review editor at People, is so devilishly hilarious in his parsing of his narrator-hero's romantic longings and degraded vocation (his sly co-workers are a riot), and so electrifying in his assaults on New York pretension, the inanities of new parents, bad rock and roll, the horrors of dating, and the conflicting desires for casual sex and undying love, he manages to generate a wealth of intriguing psychological and social minutiae. Ultimately, this is an amusing and endearing portrait of a near-loser about to blossom into a truly cool guy. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

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By A Customer on June 23 2004
Format: Hardcover
Wish that Smith had been more like his protagonist, Tom... watching "something good" on TV rather than trying to cash in non-existent talent chips. For all those who had the misfortune of reading this book- I don't need to say anything to you- and for those that are considering a purchase- I would highly recommend staying away!!
This book begs so many questions, but I will only address two: Do guys as pathetic as Tom actually exist in NYC? And do they really get girls? Having lived in NY for the better part of my life, I feel entitled to answer these questions: Maybe (thankfully, I've never come across one this bad) and NO, respectively.
This book, however, does serve one fantastic purpose- it acts as an inspiration to all writers... if it could get published, any book can.
(Have to admit that I didn't finish this book-- I just couldn't. It is rare that I don't finish reading a book, especially one that I purchased (you wondered why I kept my identity hidden?!), but, in all honesty, I would pay the $23.95 cover price every day for the rest of my life just to be spared reading the remainder.)
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Format: Hardcover
"Blood leaving my brain. It's needed elsewhere."
This excerpt pretty much describes the male's approach to social intimacy as comically portrayed in LOVE MONKEY. It's not a profound plot, but then neither were those about the female's approach to relationships that I've absorbed in the past year - namely, one book by Marian Keyes (THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY), and at least one excellent screen adaptation of each of the Jane Austen novels. (I draw the line at actually reading a JA book.) LOVE MONKEY is a welcome change in perspective.
Tom Farrell is a re-write editor for a New York City tabloid. He's still young enough at 32 to have the hormone levels that'll keep him in a state of perpetual tumescence if given the slightest possibility that he can Get Lucky. For months, Tom's been obsessed with a co-worker named Julia, who's either ultimately intimate or frustratingly stand-offish depending on her mood and the state of her relationship with her official boyfriend, Dwayne. For Julia, Tom has a mental woody on which, as he describes in the context of another body part, one could "hang wet laundry". Yet, men being biologically focused, Farrell still hits on Bran, Liesl, and Katie. After all, as he puts it:
"The sexateria is more like a diner in Moscow in 1965. You order the steak and the hamburger and the sushi because chances are they might be out of something. They might be out of everything. The main thing is, you have to eat or die." I was in Moscow in 1984, and I can attest to the aptness of the simile.
The LOVE MONKEY isn't a comprehensive examination of Tom's sexuality, but it is a humorous and breezy read suitable for the beach or the round trip commute to work on public transportation.
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By A Customer on June 11 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am disgusted by the so called `Chick Lit' category/genre to begin with, so the idea of a male version of that seems even more pathetic.
Kyle Smith's Love Monkey seemed to me like a thinly (poorly) veiled autobiographical tale, with cliched, feeble attempts at humor tossed in for good measure.
Not only will this book be repulsive to women, but any guy worth a dime will think it's rubbish as well. One of the main problems with Love Monkey is that it lacks any sense of craft: imagination, originality, character development, linguistic dexterity, etc. I'm tempted to call it a poor man's Nick Hornby, but really it's a homeless man's Nick Hornby--and that would be offensive to the homeless. So instead, I would just say that it's yet another bad book that found its way into the marketplace. Though I have to say, in my opinion I found this novel, generic as it is, to be especially creepy crawly.
In summation? Avoid this novel, which shouldn't be too hard, since there are so many great books out there to choose from instead.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read my share of the chick lit genre, but this novel, told from a male viewpoint, was a refreshing change of pace. The narrator, 32-year old Tom Farrell, is a self-described "manboy" whose life hasn't changed all that much from when he was 14 years old. Being a single, hot-blooded male in NYC, most of Tom's time revolves around courting--and I use this term loosely--various women in the hopes that one of these liaisons will eventually lead to sex. However, he has unexpectedly lost his heart to a co-worker, Julia, and making her happy suddenly becomes his primary objective.
This is a well-written, funny novel that is similar to (although not as good as) Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, which Tom references at length early in the story. Some of the characters and situations are not quite believable, but I find that to be pretty much standard fare for light fiction reading. In addition, there are some surprising twists thrown in, including a tragic backdrop and an atypical conclusion. All in all, I found this to be an engaging, enjoyable novel, and I think it is likely to appeal to both male and female fans.
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