With a cinematic wit and some emotional insight (rare from the male perspective), Jimmy Gleacher delivers his debut novel, a clever and heartfelt tale of a twentysomething guy's trip through love and relationships.
Jack Wilson's got a few problems. First, there's his ex-girlfriend, Breach -- their relationship was too perfect for any twentysomething guy in his right mind. Unable to commit, he quickly ran the other way. Since then, the dating games have spun out of control.
Now there's his new girlfriend, Hope -- she's gorgeous, exciting, smart, and quite possibly crazy. Hope's rich friends? Even crazier. Jack's life is suddenly cluttered with young, beautiful people who have a strange definition of love. Relying on fate, Jack decides to ride the situation out with little or no regard for the consequences.
A no-good gambling father, the new girlfriend's psychotic mother, and a seductive older woman aren't making things any easier. Jack's getting plenty of advice, though. If he isn't seeking the counsel of the local Mafioso deli owner, then his mom and her "Friday Night Drinking Club" are more than willing to butt in. Through it all, Jack learns that finding love and living with it depends on a set of rules, a few good moves, and a dose of luck.
Gleacher's cheeky debut starts off as an ironic romantic comedy about a tentative 20-something couple as they edge toward commitment, but the author displays a stunning gift for black humor when the hidden motives for their partnership suddenly emerge. The narrator is Jack, a young ad salesman for a Colorado newspaper, who suddenly breaks up with his girlfriend, Breach, even though she seems to be perfect for him. After the breakup, he stumbles into a relationship with an attractive but aloof blonde named Hope. Despite their mutual lack of passion, they slowly drift toward an ill-conceived marriage. The story moves into high gear with the wedding, as Hope's libidinous, status-driven mother makes a move on Jack, and Hope goes into fast-forward on the postmarital acquisition front, using her considerable inheritance money to buy a house as she begins to plan a family. Jack, however, remains in singles mode, pining away for Breach, who's gotten engaged, as he conducts a bizarre affair with a gorgeous older married woman. The plot takes a further wild turn when one of Hope's friends makes a pass at Jack and reveals that Hope's interest in him may have been more pragmatic than romantic, leading to a great comic ending as the marriage unravels and Jack plots his revenge. Gleacher is a witty, engaging narrator, going so heavy on the irony as he develops his story that the characters seem more than a little hollow before the inheritance subplot kicks in. But the success of that subplot marks the author as a comic writer to watch if he can continue to develop his intriguing gifts for irony, dark humor and minimalist writing.