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on 12 July 2017
Comedian Steve Martin is an author? Well he is and a pretty darn good one.
Daniel is an amiable young man who lives alone in LA. A guy made up of many quirks and foibles who tends to overthink things is trying to romance Zandie from the drug store, or Elizabeth the estate agent [depending what mood he’s in] while try to navigate the streets without crossing a curb and find his own way in the world.
Martin does a great job of getting the reader into Daniel’s head. When ODC [implied but never stated] or Asperger’s [possible] characters are portrayed on tv or books they usually come across as cliché or offensive, but with Daniel, he feels genuine and believable. It’s a pleasure to see him develop over the course of the novella and it always feels organic.
While never gut bustlingly funny, the text ensured I kept a grin on my face virtually from first page to last. Some of my favorite bits are Daniel trying to complete a car journey without using the letter e and keeping 1125 watts of power on constantly. Even so, there is a parallel theme of sorrow and the ugly side of life intruding which raises this above a usual ‘humor’ book.
The first third is rather directionless but never too slow and gives the supporting characters time to breath. I liked the crush he has on Elizabeth-he loves her yet they’ve never spoken a word and he doesn’t know what to say [Something I’m sure resonates with a lot of people] and the awkward ‘bromance’ with neighbor Brian.
There are problems. The second half of the book becomes more plot driven with two road trips virtually back to back which lacks the freshness of the early episodes. The ending feels really rushed, if natural, as if Martin had the last 20 pages planed out and the publisher said, ‘do it in 4, get it finished’-it’s that speeded up compared to the rest. There are a couple of uses of strong swear words which feels unnecessary and tonally inconsistent.
But this is nitpicking. It’s a fairly obscure novel but it needs to find a wider audience. If you feel like trying something different, I’d defiantly recommend it.
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on 29 June 2016
I adore this book, have read it several times over and bought it as gifts for my family and friends.

I like well crafted prose, some of my favourite authors are Margaret Atwood and Jeanette Winterson, but often the subject matter of well written books can be a bit depressing. This book is so beautifully crafted but the tone of the book is light and optimistic which makes me absolutely love it. Also occasionally I can find well written books are a little tiring to read, where as this is so easy to read it's hard to put down.
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on 8 March 2007
I must confess I read this book over a year ago and always meant to sit down and write a review but life got in the way somehow.

Secretly though I think I also wanted to keep this book to myself. I found it so engaging and heartwarming that although I felt like telling everyone to read it, I also felt like it was so good in it's own right that people would discover it anyway just like I had.

I can understand a previous reviewers comments about rereading the last few pages - I did too. It was such a good book that although I was captivated and cared about all the characters and wanted to know the ending, I was also disappointed to see the pages disappearing and knowing that soon it would be over and I'd have to read something else. In fact I tried to pace myself to make it last longer but I just could'nt put it down.

In some ways I wish it was a forgettable book so I could read it again with the same joy. But it is a truly memorable book that will make you smile.

I would'nt hesitate recommending it to anybody. The fact that Steve Martin wrote it is completely irrelevant really and shouldnt affect anyone's decision whether to purchase it or not.

I would only add that if you're not already a Steve Martin fan this book just makes you realise what a truly multi talented man he is.
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on 20 December 2016
As advertised
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on 11 August 2016
Witty. Loveable. Clever. Martin has always been good at creating characters with great depth and this really is an enjoyable journey
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on 3 June 2013
Previously having read Shopgirl by Steve Martin (which I loved!) I was keen to read his other novels and this one wasn't as brilliant as Shopgirl, but not a bad read. The main character was quirky and eccentric and mostly believable. But in the end the story line was a little lacking for me and the ending was a little rushed.
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on 18 December 2015
Brilliantly written. Touching and funny.
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on 12 November 2014
Rather putty
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on 18 March 2012
A book club recommend. "Like Wodehouse on acid or Monty Python on Valium", suggests The Observer... Another says it is "laugh out loud funny".

A slow start. Is the narrator an undiagnosed Aspie? He has a fascination with elaborate counting games and great difficulty in socialising - his flat has to have 1165W of lightbulbs lit at any given time, and when a girlfriend wants to turn out the bedroom lights and get romantic, he has to go and find other lights to turn on to reach the magic number until she gives up and goes home. Well written, sensitive and perceptive, certainly, but I didn't find it laugh out loud funny. Mildly amusing in places would be more accurate. I hope that no-one is laughing out loud about a disabling condition like Asperger's syndrome.

Jack Whittaker is a database administrator specialising in SQL Server technologies and author of the DBAtasks Blog - [...]
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on 22 February 2004
These the words printed on the reverse of quite simply the best book I've ever read.
Being a student I don’t have much time to read, or more
realistically, don’t want to. I have been a huge fan of Steve Martin's films for a long time now, "Bowfinger" being my favourite. So, I thought I'd try out one of his books. This book is brilliant, witty, ingenious and extremely clever. It has opened my eyes to the joy of reading, as I am currently reading another of his books "Pure Drivel". The storyline is based around a neurotic 30 something year old male who is torn between 3 women, each extremely different, beautiful in their own way. Being very shy he finds various different ways to see them, without the torment of having to ask them out. It follows his weird and wonderful journey as he gets to know them better, encountering endless obstacles, such as the dreaded kerb, and the much feared light bulb!
Beautiful storyline, superb humour, good job it all started because of a clerical error!
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