In the mildly entertaining memoir Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor
, former New York Times
reporter and pop-culture critic Rick Marin chronicles the years of marathon dating and shallow living that followed in the wake of his failed "starter marriage." Marin moves through a series of urbane exploits and short-lived affairs, perfecting his trademark move of whipping off his horn-rims midconversation in a "myopic gaze," holding court with his wingman Tad over the hot buffet at Billy's Topless, and regurgitating wisdom gleaned from The Godfather
. Like the similarly self-indulgent How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
has its memorable moments--Marin comparing his wedding video to the Zapruder film and hitting on actress Moira Kelly when she was still an ingénue living with her mom on Long Island--but the book's swinging, ring-a-ding-ding Rat Pack attitude feels noticeably forced and uninspired, leaving a flat aftertaste to the whole affair. --Brad Thomas Parsons
From Publishers Weekly
In this withering account of one man's travels in dateland, journalist Marin visits an insane asylum, spends a year as a gourmand yuppie, woos a recent college graduate with Pop-Tarts and comes on to a teenage celebrity. And those are his tamer anecdotes. Marin, who starts his tear in the early 1990s after separating from his wife, also pursues a writing career that has him interviewing B-list celebrities like Vanilla Ice. As he cruises through his 20- and 30-something years (and most of the single women) in New York, Marin tells an episodic tale that's more than the sum of its hilarious parts-he also evokes a male psyche that's pulsating with provocative nuggets. (On honesty: "Women blame men for acting fake.... But women are the ones speeding from zero to intimacy like a Ferrari. Which is more artificial?") In the hands of a lesser writer, the book could have been merely a self-indulgent series of diary entries. But Marin's comic timing, insight and self-deprecation vault it to something greater. Marin has achieved the most elusive of literature's paradoxes: a deep and complicated exploration of the superficial. Men and women should be equally enthralled by the portrait of someone torn between finding the right woman and finding the right-now woman. That there's a happy-but not Nutrasweet-ending only reinforces the image of a real person in all his messy and comic humanity.
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