A Patchwork Planet
by Anne Tyler

One of Anne Tyler's most amusing books. It features a 30-year old man with low-class values who comes from a middle-class family. He narrates the whole book.

He has managed to be a juvenile delinquent, a college drop-out, and a divorced, noncustodial father already. He works for minimum wage as a laborer, even though he has a high IQ. His tendency to screw up his life by being a jerk at key moments causes him to live about as successfully as a moron from a black ghetto raised by a crack whore.

He gradually falls in love with a prim, proper, plump, old maid. It is a case of opposites attracting each other. He hopes that she will inspire him to straighten himself and become an adult. He begins to take some steps in that direction, but then he has a one-night stand with a low-class girl who is his partner at work.

As the book ends he is having fond thoughts about his slovenly co-worker. Giving this idiot's history, it is likely he will lose the good woman by having a brief affair with his pea-brained partner.

Tyler does a pretty good job of trying to express things from a man's point of view. But she makes him too sensitive and more cognizant of such things as women's clothing than a normal heterosexual man would be, and she gives him a woman's psychology with regard to sex and love, as though men and women were similar in this regard. She also makes him a great writer who makes clever observations about life, which makes him more likable and less realistic.

Year Read: 1999


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