With humor, audacity and cunning, Michael Weinreb
penetrates the psyches of men as they weather the
uncertainties of modern relationships. This debut
collection delves into the inner lives of young single men
and comes up with observations so sly, in prose so
disarming and precise, that girls and boys alike will find
themselves nodding, laughing and cringing all at once.
These are men floundering in love, stuck in their heads and
making all the wrong choices for all the right reasons.
There is Jonathan of "All I Know About It," whose dizzying
love affair crashes and burns, leaving him sobbing over the
price of premium at a Texaco station; the anonymous
narrator of "Bear Claws the Size of Her Head," with his
pickup line so good he'll never disclose it; and Seth Hall,
the motivational speaker in "What I Would Tell Her," who
spends his days rousing roomfuls of shoe-store owners, but
can never summon the courage to dial that last digit when
he picks up the phone to tell Rachael -- "with an extra 'a'
for emphasis" -- that he is in love with her.
In "Pictures of My Family," Alex Rosen, who addresses his
own mother as "Hey, you," reluctantly heads to Rochester
for his grandmother's 90th birthday and almost ends up
telling his entire family off in a drunken toast that
begins, "I look around this room, and I ask myself, 'Am I
adopted? Who the hell are these people?'"
In the title story, we meet up with Alex again, a little
older and maybe slightly wiser, as he tries to make it to
the next level -- in life, love, work, whatever -- yet finds
himself unable to shake old habits and, while swept up in
the hedonistic pleasures of Las Vegas, makes a pass at his
friend's self-absorbed girl of the moment.
In Weinreb's hands, stories of ordinary heartbreak and
angst crackle with wit. A stunning debut, Girl Boy Etc.
teems with perceptions as sharp as the shooting pain of a
hangover headache and as familiar as the feeling of being