Friday, September 9, 2011


Here is an unexpectedly wonderful book that I will be buying for people for birthdays and such. Mostly because although it had some low spots, the greater piece that I took away is the thought, what if?

Q by Evan Mandery
Q: A Novel
“You must not marry Q.” This is the fateful and heartbreaking message delivered to the protagonist by someone who knows him very, very well, and it comes deep into a sweet courtship all around New York City. Yet Q is the love of his life and they are engaged to be wed. But for clear and painful reasons, he knows that for her sake, he can’t go through with it. And so his journey begins, and he must find a way to spare Q any pain and embark on any new path possible to happiness—or any semblance thereof. He loses himself in his writing and in research of historical figures, notably Freud and his own unhappiness, and he is also given regular updates on how to live life by the same well-meaning but disturbing friend.

Evan Mandery takes the traditional love story and turns it on its head, in the sweetest and most thoughtful way, with humor and angst in equal measure, and gives a totally surprising ending that will melt the darkest heart.

Throughout this book there are humorous bits that I found myself thinking I wish I had married a guy this great but this quirky. Evan Mandery did such a great job crafting the character of the unknown man who falls in love with Q and then follows the advice of his older self telling him what he absolutely must do in his life to prevent bad things from potentially happening. But what I love about this character is that I can completely identify with him because he cares so much for those around him that I think he often forgets about himself in the mix.

I wanted to share a fun passage with you that I felt like kind of highlighted the type of guy he was. One you can identify with, find funny, but paints a picture of him. (This is in reference to tipping the coat check person and how he never knows really what to give.)

"I feel this way about many services. I do not mind paying a black smith or a gastroenerologist because I cannot make horseshoes or perform colonoscopies myself. I am, however, perfectly capable of draping my jacket over the back of a chair. I am highly capable, too, of parking my car in a lot. I do not need someone to drive it from the front door to a spot fifty feet away, at a cost of two or three dollars. Nor do I need someone to wash my clubs with a towel after a round of golf--setting me back five dollars for two minutes work on his part.

I am particularly uncomfortable with the concept of the bathroom attendant. This person provides no direct assistance, of course, and it makes me uncomfortable to have someone squirt soap in my hands and offer me a towel. I do not use any of the sundries spread across the counters of upscale bathrooms. I do not use cologne, I do not groom myself in public bathrooms and thus do not require aftershave lotion or styling gel, and I would never consider, not even for a second, taking a sucking candy or a stick of gum from a tray near a row of urinals."

But what makes this more humourous is that while he can be so indignant having to tip for a multitude of services since it is a socially accepted thing to do, he is spending money all over the place catering to his future self. Expensive lunches and dinners at high end and hard to get into restaurant, or my favorite, the unrefundable ticket to Nepal later on. It just makes me giggle because again, while it isn't very good for him (well... now but the future self is benefitting) he's doing it to cater to someone else even though it goes against his better judgement.

Overall, this book was pretty fascinating as a concept and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I will admit to there being some slow parts that seem tedious at the time but in after thought since the story is being told through this character's voice, it makes me think those would be a logical rambling tangent that a person would do while telling a story. So in hindsight... maybe those parts are needed to make the story feel more like a buddy is telling you his life story in a bar in a few years.

But it also leaves you with the question- if you knew that marrying a person would ultimately lead to tremendous heartache because of the loss of a child... would you still marry that person? Keep in mind that both of you would want children but genetically.. it would be a mistake to do so. What would YOU do?

Please don't just take my word for it, check out the other tour stops for this great book HERE and of course, stop by Evan's website HERE.


Shirley said...

Q sounds fascinating! I think I am going to have to get that book.

Nay said...

I've been dying to read this one!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a hard thing to think about ... would I still marry my husband if I knew we would lose a child? I think I'd say yes, but of course I can't be sure.

Thanks for the review for the tour!