"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Monday, December 27, 2010

Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating with My Dad by Bob Morris

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Summary: A widowed father asks his adult gay son to set him up on dates with women his father might like.

A gay adult son – writer Bob Morris - is asked by his widowed father to set him up on dates with women his father might like. Hard to tell who’s pickier, the father or son. Bob feels burdened by his father's craziness yet offended if women he picks don’t like his father.

But it’s no wonder that Joe is having trouble finding a second wife to spend his golden years with – the son is as picky as the father and won't consider potential women who answer the phone in perky or silly ways.
“I just need someone with a good figure who doesn’t smoke. Preferably Jewish. Republican a plus. I’m going to hold you to your promise to make those calls for me.”
We said goodbye and I hand up the phone. What is going on here? Am I really going to be pimping for my father?
Along the way, we meet some of the women that Bob vets and go on a few of the dates Joe makes with these women. Bob is also struggling to find someone to spend the rest of his life with. Bob resents how much time he has to spend catering to the whims of his demanding father, and wondering how in the world his sainted mother stood living with his father for so long, when Bob finds almost every interaction - from childhood, adolescence and even adulthood - painful.

Bob never recognizes his own selfishness and personality quirks and spends most of the book complaining about his father and wondering why other hot gay men don't want a cuddly overweight graying writer who's perpetually grumpy. Gee, I wonder.

Still the book has a happy ending for both father and son in a rewarding scene that makes up for the whining of the book.
At the end of the book, father and son revisit their childhood home together.
“Why did I dislike it so much?" I ask. "Why was I so unhappy here?”
Dad doesn’t know. And I can’t say I’ll ever know either. I’ve always been insecure, and I’ve always liked to complain. And without anything important to complain about, I guess I needed something, anything, to pick on for all those years. But now I think I’m finally tired of my unhappiness. Maybe all it takes is an adjustment, a decision, like when you stop looking for perfection in a mate and finally fall in love."
I tend not to read blogs or books by or hang around people who complain, so this book required a big effor for me to finish. It was amusing, but not gut-achingly funny.

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