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A newly widowed Australian doctor finds himself caught between the demands of raising his infant daughter and those of the dating world in Earls's breezy but thoughtful romance. Dating proves far more difficult than child-rearing for Jon Marshall, the laser surgeon whose wife dies during childbirth. He quickly sinks a budding romance with Katie, a friend of his office manager, in a series of hysterical scenes in which Jon has some unseemly accidents with Katie's unfortunate cat. Things get a bit more serious when the 30-ish Jon befriends an attractive college student named Ashley: they start out as running buddies, but their relationship slowly blossoms into something more serious. The most intriguing subplot involves Jon's internal wrestling match with the legacy of his marriage, which had been problematic before his wife's death. He finds he must come to terms with his old relationship before he can make a go of it with his college-age partner. Earls spends far too much time dissecting Jon's social life in the context of '80s rock music, and while he writes touchingly about the joys of being a young single parent, he conveniently glosses over most of the nightmares. He earns kudos, however, for steering his would-be lovers away from a formulaic happy ending, though the feel-good resolution will still satisfy dedicated romantics. Dating can be daunting at any age, but Earls paints the battle of the sexes as a friendly duel with plenty of promising common ground, and readers should enjoy this amiable, well-crafted and genuinely romantic book. (Oct. 24)Forecast: A bestseller Down Under, Earls could be embraced here as the Aussie Nick Hornby, but it will take some good reviews and even better marketing.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In the wake of several comic novels about men learning to date and love in their late twenties comes a comic novel about a man relearning dating and love in his mid-thirties. Bumbling but charming Jon, a laser surgeon and single father to six-month-old Lily (aka Bean), is back on the dating scene. His return is marked by comic travails, which his friends and coworkers ridicule endlessly, including a particularly funny scene wherein he urinates on his date's cat. Halfway through the novel it's revealed that Bean's mother died in childbirth and that Jon's a widower rather than a divorce. This revelation would feel forced in other novels, but here it is earned, as are most of the funny moments, with complex characters and compelling examinations of the ambivalence that sometimes accompanies grief. Some of the gags go on much, much too long, but this Australian best-seller is funny and moving, even for readers who aren't worried about the future of their perfect skin. John Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.