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The Pleasure of My Company: A Novel Hardcover – Oct 1 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (Oct. 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786869216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786869213
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #688,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn in the City on Nov. 13 2009
Format: Paperback
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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By Richard Nelson on June 16 2004
Format: Hardcover
A short book demands a short review, so here goes: Steve Martin manages to be funny and thoughtful in this book without ever making you feel like you're in the middle of an SNL skit, and that's a difficult feat when your subject matter is a man whose idiosyncrasies beg to be mocked. Instead, Martin takes us inside the mind of Daniel Pecan Cambridge, who can't cross streets if it involves stepping off of a curb, requires that all the lights in his home add up to 1125 watts (imagine how this impacts bedtime), obsesses over the realtor across the street, and makes frequent--and complicated, due to his inability to curb-hop--trips to Rite-Aid. This novel makes you think about how easy it is to get stuck in a rut and how dangerous that rut can become. It's written quite beautifully--I suppose, after Shopgirl, Martin's writing skills should be less surprising, but the fact is that he's got more literary talent than half the bestseller list. At only 160 pages, this book is just right for a three day read, during which you'll find yourself thinking about Cambridge frequently, and after which you'll be left with the hazy afterglow of a very pleasant experience with an ending that wraps things up perfectly.
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By cameron on June 7 2004
Format: Hardcover
Daniel Pecan lives in an average apartment building in Santa Monica, California, where out of the ordinary is completely normal. From his fear of the six inch curbs outside his home, to his complete inability to approach women, to his obsession with on sale ear plugs at the rite aid down the street, Daniel is perfectly fit for the setting in which he lives and the novel takes place. He not only has huge insecurities and problems with low confidence about himself, but problems with exaggeration and lying to the public to make himself someone he's not. "The challenge was not how to present myself as average, but how to make myself likeable without lying." (Martin, 9). As new characters are introduced throughout the story, Daniel continues to face the challenge of complete honesty with people, and with himself.
The novel "The Pleasure of my Company" written by Steve Martin consists of a great deal of humor and sarcasm, and honestly but comically confronts the ideas of people's everyday insecurities about themselves as people live their lives from day to day. "Just at the moment Elizabeth looked over, I was half puckered (from the sun) and probably dangerous looking." (Martin, 16). The main character Daniel Pecan, thirty-three of Santa Monica, California has trouble not only making any kind of contact with women, but simply walking by one without feeling the need to deeply analyze it after. His humor and insecurities about and with women are what make the story what is it because without the comedy, the plot would not move well along throughout the book.
I Strongly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good laugh, excessive sarcasm, and an extremely twisted story line that will keep you wondering throughout the book.
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By Butterscotch on June 5 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book was enjoyable and could be read in many different ways - as the story of a flawed man, a neurotic, or even a love story. By the end I had actually come to the conclusion it was a love story of sorts - how the pursuit of love, the affection for others, and social contact in general, helped Daniel to start to overcome his issues. The story is of Daniel, a man who is troubled by his social maladies and psychological ones as well. He exists in his own world that plays out mainly in his head and every human contact or outing requires significant pre-planning. Some of his neuroticisms are quite funny (ie the Rite Aid outings) and kept the book light. It was an emotional book because at times you will be laughing at Daniel, feel sadness for him, feel sorry for him, and experience happiness too. This was a fine little read with many strong points. I missed having 'chapters' in the book, but something about not having them made this read more like a stream of consciousness by Daniel more than an actual book.
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