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The Pleasure of My Company: A Novel [Hardcover]

Steve Martin
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2003
From the bestselling author of Shopgirl comes the tender story of a troubled man who finds love, and life, in the most unexpected place.

Daniel resides in his Santa Monica apartment, living much of his life as a bystander: He watches from his window as the world goes by, and his only relationships seem to be with people who barely know he exists. He passes the time idly filling out contest applications, counting ceiling tiles, and estimating the wattage of light bulbs.

It is through Daniel's growing attachment to Clarissa, and to Teddy, that he finally gains the courage to begin to engage the world outside, and in doing so, he discovers love, and life, in the most surprising places.

Filled with his trademark humor, tenderness, and out and out hilarious wordplay, The Pleasure of My Company is a tour de force sure to delight all of Steve Martin's fans.

Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Martin's first novella, Shopgirl (2000), was a revelation, a compassionate yet cool, meticulously crafted tale of a young woman's affair with an older, successful man not what most readers were expecting from the famed comic actor and author of Pure Drivel. Martin's second novella continues the enjoyment, offering another story with a conscience, one funnier than Shopgirl but put together just as smartly, if very differently. Martin forgoes the distanced omniscient narration of Shopgirl by plunking readers into the head of one the odder yet more charming protagonists in recent fiction, Daniel Pecan Cambridge, a gentle soul suffering from a mild mix of autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Daniel, 33, lives in a rundown Santa Monica apartment, his life constricted by an armor of defensive habit (all the lightbulbs in his apartment must equal 1,125 watts; he can't step over curbs so can cross streets only where two opposing driveways align, etc.), his dull days punctuated only by imagined romances and visits by his student social worker, lovely and kind Clarissa. Daniel's ways (a product of child abuse, Martin shows with subtlety) are challenged when Clarissa and her infant son, Teddy, move in to escape an abusive husband; when Daniel wins a contest as "Most Average American" and must give a speech to claim the $5,000 prize; and when his beloved grandmother dies, sending him on a road trip of discovery back home. This novella is a delight, embodying a satisfying story arc, a jeweler's eye for detail, intelligent pacing and a clean, sturdy prose style. What's most remarkable about it, though, is its tenderness, a complex mix of wit, poignancy and Martin's clear, great affection for his characters. Many readers are going to love this brief, big-hearted book.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Martin's first novel, Shopgirl (2000), was charming and clever, and his second is even more accomplished. Daniel Pecan Cambridge (his middle name is taken from his grandmother's successful pecan farm in Texas) is at odds with the world. He can only cross the street at driveways that are directly opposite each other, he must have an exact amount of light wattage in his apartment at all times, and he longingly watches a beautiful pharmacy clerk and a sexy realtor from afar. A psychiatry student named Clarissa visits him twice a week, trying to get to the root of his many phobias and quirks, but he holds her at a distance because she tells him nothing about her personal life. He knows she's somehow connected to the little boy and the woman he sees outside his apartment during their sessions. It turns out the little boy is Clarissa's son, Teddy, and one day, when Clarissa's ex-husband tries to take Teddy from her, Daniel literally throws himself over the boy and suddenly finds himself drawn into their lives. Daniel grows increasingly attached to them and realizes that his phobias might have to take a backseat to the people in his life. Martin's trademark humor is guaranteed to have readers laughing hard, but there is also a great deal of sweetness here and a real affection for his characters. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Endlessly Entertaining Nov. 13 2009
This is a short read by Steve Martin, yes, THAT Steve Martin, the actor, and I for one couldn't put it down. The plot strolls along, like Daniel Pecan Cambridge on his daily walks to Rite-Aid, the drugstore where a pharmacist whom he has a crush on works.
Daniel himself doesn't work, and this is alluded to at the beginning of the book as being related to his unique condition.

This book was an original, hilarious look at a man whose crippling OCD is outweighed only by his genuine concern of others and his unique and inventive way of connecting with them. Having read Steve Martin in the New Yorker for years, I know that his humour writing is second to none, and this book was brimming with it. But also an undernote of real compassion--for the obsessive protagonist and the flawed characters around him, who are brought to life by Mr. Martin's amazing use of humour and language.

The situations Daniel finds himself in are as varied as winning an essay contest (twice), going on a road trip with his therapist and her son to his grandmother's funeral, and being a confidante for people who trust him not to judge them or look at them in an unfavourable light, based on his own odd-ness.

I highly recommend this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Steve Martin is Gifted Oct. 8 2006
By Shepherdess Extraordinaire TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This is the second book of Steve Martin's that I've read and I am so impressed with his writing. He is innovative and writes in a style that evokes alot of emotion. It was amazing how he took the day to day life of someone who has an ordinary and uneventful life and makes it an enthralling read. There is great character development, and as in, Shopgirl, I found myself "cheering" for the main character.
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5.0 out of 5 stars don't expect the usual Aug. 22 2006
I found this to be a wonderful read. A smart, warm, deep character study - I found myself smiling as I read it and smiling now as I think about it. Don't go into it expecting another "shopgirl"; it is different and quirky and lovely.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Jury is Still Out March 10 2005
The jury is still out for me on Steve Martin as a writer. I really enjoyed SHOP GIRL. PLEASURE OF MY COMPANY had some great moments and fresh and unique ideas, but didn't capture me in the same way. I found more similarities to SHOP GIRL with Augusten Burroughs' SELLEVISION or Rikki Lee Travolta's MY FRACTURED LIFE then I necessarily found with PLEASURE OF MY COMPANY. It is a unique and interesting book, not bad at all. It's just different than what I expected and not filled with that same quick wit I found in SHOP GIRL and with Burroughs and Travolta. I'm not counting Martin out. I liked this novel I think, I'm just not as sure as in the past.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Okay, I give... July 18 2004
By A Customer
When I saw this at the book store, I chuckled smugly: Gosh, I wonder how this guy got his book deal, and what unknown author did he push off the shelf with his big name and the publisher's money? And, so, not wanting to put any money in the pocket of a millionaire celebrity 'writer,' I checked it out at the library. Damn! It's so totally brilliant: sad, and real and exquisitely written. A great novel. I'm now purchasing a copy. Damn!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book !!! July 5 2004
By Patty O
I loved this book by Steve Martin. It was very insightful and I laughed and cried. OCD and family relations, career problems and romance, are all covered in this short and easy read.
Get it, you will love it too!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasure to Read June 19 2004
By A Customer
Most of the reviewers describe this book very accurately. It really was a pleasure to read. It was humorous and touching. It was so much better than the vast majority of books I read, that I had to give it 5 stars. If you are reading this review trying to decide whether to read it or not, do yourself a favor, don't debate any longer--read it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A nice little book June 18 2004
By mpa12
Nothing exceptional, but an enjoyable and interesting book. As others have mentioned, it's a quick and easy read and worth the short investment of time required.
Steve Martin develops an interesting character, and the story twists a number of unexpected ways.
If you enjoyed this you must read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon -- a similar but far superior book (and that's not a knock on The Pleasure of My Company).
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