Mr. Commitment

Mike Gayle, Author Doubleday Books $22.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-50100-2
British magazine writer Gayle, author of the U.K. bestseller My Legendary Girlfriend, makes his American fiction debut with his second novel, the breezy tale of a young Londoner fearfully contemplating the leap from boyfriend to husband. Aspiring stand-up comic Benjamin Duffy suffers from a typical single-male afflictionDan extreme aversion to marriage. When Mel, his girlfriend of four years, presses him to make the proverbial commitment, Duffy wavers and spends the rest of the book trying to figure out whether he's the marrying kind. It takes a while for the author to establish a good pace and to capitalize on the potential of his comedian-protagonist's entertaining viewpoint, but the book takes off the moment Mel realizes Duffy is not genuinely ready to get married, and they break up. Duffy's ensuing forays into the dating world with ""TV's Hottest Totty,"" an amusingly portrayed television personality named Alexa, bring the plight of today's single male hilariously to life. Duffy's jealous reactions to Mel's new boyfriend are laugh-out-loud funny, and Gayle skillfully captures the on-again, off-again patterns of contemporary relationships. Gayle's hero will undoubtedly be called a male Bridget Jones, and while the novel is not quite as sharp as Helen Fielding's trend-setting tale, it does offer up a winning portrayal of a man who, with humor, humility and a genuine gift for caring, finally grows up. Author tour. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/04/2000
Release date: 12/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 322 pages - 978-0-340-71825-4
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-7679-0654-8
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 232 pages - 978-0-7679-1088-0
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