"Radziwill's delicious debut novel… is a poignant tale of love and loss."—Publishers Weekly
"One of the richest, most deeply satisfying stories I've read in a long time."—BookPage
"Carole Radziwill writes like a cross between Sophie Kinsella and Christopher Buckley. Cautiously romantic, unexpectedly moving, and funny!"—Susan Sarandon
The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating is Carole Radziwill's deliciously smart comedy about a famously widowed young New Yorker hell-bent on recapturing a kind of passionate love she never really had
Claire Byrne is a quirky and glamorous 34-year-old Manhattanite and the wife of a famous, slightly older man. Her husband, Charlie, is a renowned sexologist and writer. Equal parts Alfred Kinsey and Warren Beatty, Charlie is pompous yet charming, supportive yet unfaithful; he's a firm believer that sex and love can't coexist for long, and he does little to hide his affairs. Claire's life with Charlie is an always interesting if not deeply devoted one, until Charlie is struck dead one day on the sidewalk by a falling sculpture ... a Giacometti, no less!
Once a promising young writer, Claire had buried her ambitions to make room for Charlie's. After his death, she must reinvent herself. Over the course of a year, she sees a shrink (or two), visits an oracle, hires a "botanomanist," enjoys an erotic interlude (or ten), eats too little, drinks too much, dates a hockey player, dates a billionaire, dates an actor (not any actor either, but the handsome movie star every woman in the world fantasizes about dating). As she grieves for Charlie and searches for herself, she comes to realize that she has an opportunity to find something bigger than she had before—maybe even, possibly, love.
Claire Byrne comes piteously undone after Charlie, her imperious husband and a best-selling sexologist, is beaned by a knockoff 190-pound bronze sculpture in reality star Radziwill's delicious debut novel, a return to the subject matter of her memoir, What Remains, which explored Radziwill's reaction to the early death of her husband. The death of Claire's middle-aged husband forces her, a 32-year-old, emotionally immature aspiring writer, to re-evaluate a life spent in Charlie's shadow. "You've never really been alone," best friend Ethan tells her. "You got married at twenty-two.... Before you could be a sun, you signed on to be a moon." Claire promptly falls for Holly-wood heartthrob Jack Huxley, whom Charlie was writing a book about, but discovers that Charlie's biggest critic, book reviewer Ben Hawthorne, might just be the one to repair her broken heart and dreams. Along this circuitous path to happiness, there will be 35 mostly gratuitous rules ("#19: Never kiss a man who will look better than you in the morning) and a sly nod to Radziwill's day job as one of the Real Housewives of New York. But beyond the camp and predictable, there is a poignant tale of loss and love. "Sex is one thing. Sex is easy.... The trouble is those other two: hope and its mean cousin, heartbreak," Claire finds.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Unique, entertaining and slightly taxing
I really liked this novel. The writing is terrific, but my iPad claimed it was only 275pp and this felt like 400. The author doesn't write easy paragraphs, or sentences. I've gotten used to only reading beach-like reads on my iPad, and I knew I'd rather have this in paper but couldn't find it in the bookstores, and this is not the kind of easy read that works well to skim thru on a reader. This is story is going to be odd for many. Radziwill's writing, while intelligent, is also relaxed and relies on a string of pop culture references which makes it seem more mass-cultural appeal than it is, because, unfortunately!, there's not really much of a plot. Unlike a lot of the mass produced romance-style novels coming out, which have poor writing and poor character development and interiority, but a solid character plot, ironically (for all of Radziwill's discussion of fairy tales and 3 parts to a story's development) there's not really any story events. She's built a novel on characters' interior growth, and some crucial parts to that eventual happy ending are missing. It's a very decent first novel for someone, but it's obvious the author needs to reevaluate her genre or work on the genre's necessary plot events. Ultimately, the whole time I read this story I had a smirk on my face and even laughed out loud a few times. I like the allusions and I liked the character study. But I felt parts were rushed and crucial elements to the genre, and thus the story she was attempting, were missing.
A surprisingly great book!
I said surprisingly because of the author's present media activities. But I'm happy I got over my initial resistance to read a book by a reality tv whatever ( I hate using the star word when associated with reality tv). Carole is a great author and this book was worth the time.
I loved her first book, but this one fell flat. The book was over before it really developed. I'm so disappointed I really wanted to like this one.