cover image The Average American Marriage

The Average American Marriage

Chad Kultgen. Harper Perennial, $14.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-211955-1

In Kultgen's sequel to The Average American Male, his unnamed narrator is now unhappily married to Alyna and they have two kids, Andy and Jane. Bored in his sexless marriage, the narrator spends his days watching babysitter porn and fantasizing about his officemates. Enter college student Holly McDonnel, 21, the "hottest chick in the place." Predictably, an affair follows. There are keg parties, pot smoking, and a trip to a gay wedding. The narrator runs into trouble when Alyna finds dirty pictures of Holly on his cell phone and kicks him out of the house. There are hardly any surprises here: STD scares, couples counseling, and an eventual reconciliation with Alyna. Derivative, dull, and misogynistic, this is not a satire of modern life; it is a sad book written by a cynical man. The lame attempt at social commentary regarding Facebook, phones, and the younger generation's neediness feels like an old man shaking his fist at the sky. If you want middle-aged men behaving badly or dealing with suburban blahs, read Lolita or White Noise instead. (Feb.)