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Posted: March 28, 2021

A romantic novel that makes one think

Book Review

By Derryll White

Christopher, Andie J. (2020).  Not That Kind of Guy.

I have always wondered what goes on in a woman’s head and have never had Mel Gibson’s gift to decipher it all. Is it different from what goes on in mine?

Andi Christopher offers a candid view of what State Attorney Bridget Nolan is thinking as she assassinates one relationship and falls drunkenly head-over-heels into another. It is fascinating.  Bridget has an uncanny ability to open herself to her thoughts and desires, and to move forward into making them real.

There is a strong undertow in this story of the necessity for communication. The author time and again shows the consequences of understatement, mistrust, lying and not telling the whole story. Christopher is also clear about the effects of family and how family can be both a positive influence and a detriment. She clearly points out the strengths of love required for two individuals to move forward as one in the face of family expectations.  It is a daunting task for that amorphous quality called love.

So, this is a romance novel – not on the level of Harlequin but nevertheless a romance. It makes one think, which is always what I expect from a novel.

Excerpts from the novel:

KNOWING – His mother had had questions about all of it.  Is this about a girl?  When can we meet her?  Who is her family?  She’s not another model, is she?  Why won’t you give Naomi a second chance?

He could probably have avoided his mother’s questions by saying that it was his boss at the state’s attorney’s office.  Although he knew that his mother would love Bridget if she got to know her, his mother should think of her as a dowdy bureaucrat until Matt convinced Bridget to be his girlfriend and introduced them properly.

Still, he’d had to suffer through a good five minutes of lecturing about not doing anything that would look bad for the family while in Vegas.  Matt shook his head.

MARRIAGE – Her whole future flashed before her.  They’d move to the suburbs and get pregnant right after they got married.  She’d go back to work after the first baby, but he’d talk her out of it after the second.  After all, her paycheck would barely cover day care for one kid.  And she’d hate her three hours of commuting and spending about five minutes with her kid so much that she’d probably even think it was a great idea.

    So, then she’d cart her kid to lessons and other stupid shit that kids had to do to get into the right preschool in the minivan that Chris also talked her into.  She’d never get to wear real clothes.  Just that stretchy athleisure shit.  Probably in bright colors that clashed with her hair.

    And she wouldn’t complain.

    Because Chris would be the one paying her student loans – actually all their bills.  She’d get no say.  He’d have all the power.  And she’d be trapped out in the suburbs, until she died from pretending to be happy or she bugged out on everything – just like her mother had.

RELIANCE – …it felt like something had unfurled in her over the weekend.  This deep, achy need to touch him, to curl into his body and keep him next to her always.  The way he looked and smelled and just was made her greedy for him, and that greed felt dangerous.

WIVES – In that same issue of the magazine – it must have been a June wedding issue – they’d also reprinted a bunch of old advice from a 1950s home economics textbook.  At the time, it had reminded her of her mother before she’d left them – when she’d let almost everyone believe that everything in the Nolan house was perfectly smooth sailing.  The old textbook had basically advised young women – because of course all domestic peace and tranquility and their opposites emanated from wives – to make sure that everything was perfect when their husbands got home from work.  They were to make sure the house was clean, dinner was ready, the children were seen and not heard, and that they also looked perfect.  Most important, young wives were admonished never to complain if their husband was late or surly.

Basically, wives were told that they needed to be hot, their house needed to be perfectly clean, their children needed to shut the fuck up, and good wives never nagged.

– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them.  When not reading he writes history for the web at www.basininstitute.org.


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