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Getting Over Homer Paperback – May 27, 1997

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (May 27, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679781226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679781226
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,297,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Mark O'Donnell, the funniest writer you've never read, is the proud father of Getting Over Homer. In 193 pages percolating with wordplay, the book charts a romantic odyssey through the gay demimonde of New York City. Your faithful narrator, Blue Monahan, is a songwriter and self-described "alien on Earth." (Actually, he's a Midwesterner in Manhattan, which is just as bad.) Monahan ekes out a living playing piano and writing doomed musicals, while his twin brother, an actor, suckles Hollywood through a long-running sitcom.

The Homer of the title is a catty charmer with a shady past, a professional party-thrower who woos, screws, then "adieus" Blue. We follow the jilted through the healing process; it's painfully honest, but well leavened with wit. Getting Over Homer, ends much as it began: certain about love, uncertain about lovers, and through it all bravely funny.

From Publishers Weekly

Playwright and humorist O'Donnell's first novel is a wit-saturated tale of coming out, coming-of-age, come-downs and coming around about love. "Blue" Monahan's search for his true mate in gay Manhattan sparks two successive flames, both of which burn out. His first, Homer, an ambitious celebrity party planner, takes him among the high rollers and Fire Island sophisticates before the pair abruptly break up. On the rebound with the younger, naive Teddy, Blue again discovers the unpredictable behavior of the human heart. O'Donnell (Vertigo Park) saddles Blue with an identical twin who is a famous sitcom actor and with the misfortune of having written a cheesy hit ballad as a kid. Homer is a less than credible figure of obsession, but O'Donnell captures his mercurially untrustworthy charm. Similarly, his style works best when rendering repartee or when relating the antics of Blue's family and friends, such as the sardonically upright Lloyd, who calls Homer "either Cute Man Made or time-released trouble." Blue's a wistful fool for love, and the narrative is awash in one-liners and self-conscious sentimentality. In the end, Blue's punning, pop-cult wiseacreage somewhat flattens the story line, as his amorous highs don't sound all that different from his heartbroken lows.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Budman on May 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Just what we need: yet another novel in which a youngish gay man searches wryly for true love in the Northeast. The streets that first-time novelist Mark O'Donnell treads are pretty well-worn, walked by Armistead Maupin, Stephen McCauley and a number of others. But O'Donnell brings remarkable freshness to his chronicle. He delivers a breathlessly funny novel that rewards the more careful reader, piling quip upon quip, precariously stacking clever puns and turns of phrase until they seem about to topple.
"I might as well tell you the whole arguably beautiful ordeal," his narrator sighs. "It's one of those coming-of-middle-age stories. A *bull-dung*-whatever. 'Lost Labors Loved.'" The narrator, Hans Christian Monahan (nicknamed Blue), was a child prodigy of sorts, writing a popular song (the sappy "Love Is the Answer") at age 11; since then he's slowly declined to become, in his 30s, a pianist and songwriter of less than great reknown, "a drowning, unaccompanied, pasty guy."
Still believing that love is indeed the answer ("I'm a beauty fool. A hope dope."), Blue searches New York for the perfect guy. What he finds is Homer, a dazzling party consultant of uncertain past and future, a man who turns out to be "ultimately more mirage than marriage." Blue describes his love life: "A few painful misfires, a few wonderful misfires, and then Homer. Homer, who cried with happiness when I carried him up to the roof of his own building he'd never even been on. Homer, who then left me alone with the ocean." He unsuccessfully seeks comfort from his 11 eccentric siblings, from friends, from television, from the Unhappy Hunting Grounds of gay bars. Listless and dispirited, "I was living in the world's dullest nightmare," he says.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
Getting Over Homer is a sparsely written novel about Blue Monohan, yet ANOTHER character from Cleveland (I've been to Cleveland and it isn't nearly this interesting in real life, Mark). Blue has one foot in the Buckeye state and one in the big city life of New York. Unlike another Cleveland-born character, Mary Ann Singleton, of Tales of the City fame, Blue's life remains somewhat centered in his Catholic white bread family life in Cleveland and embraces his move to the city only half-heartedly. This is unfortunate. Ninety-percent of the interesting characters in the book are Blue's family members! Oh, I wish you'd let us get to know some of them better. This book could have been twice as long and still have held my interest. Even the main characters are underdeveloped. I found over and over again that I wanted to know some of the characters more. Mark writes hauntingly, however, and on more than one occassion provides beautiful insight into the "normal" everyday life of a gay man. That is why I chose to read this book, as I am also a middle aged man grappling with the fact that love sometimes leaves inexplicably. Finishing the book has made me want to read more of O'Donnell's offerings. I would recommend this book as light hearted reading, perfect for the train or bus as the chapters are small. Maybe we should all date someone like Mark O'Donnell...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vermont USA on February 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was captivated by this book for the first 100 pages -- until it began to fizzle. O'Donnell certainly has a scintillating sense of humor and writes trenchantly about gay life in New York. The book's one set piece on Fire Island is hilarious, and I found myself reading bits of it to friends. Alas, the narrative seems to wane and lag after Homer exits, and what follows feels all too familiar and predictable. Don't get me wrong. There are original insights all the way through, particularly about being a twin. Indeed, that subject matter in and of itself might make for fascinating next-novel material. The other comment I want to make is that although much of the dialogue is delicious and bitchy and pointed, you have to suspend disbelief a bit because you know that people can't really be that witty en passant. Obviously in writing one has to tred the dangerous ground between banal and clever, but when characters are two clever they run the risk of sounding too much like the author.
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By A Customer on May 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
After I first read this book, I couldn't believe Mark O'Donnell wasn't a more famous writer. He is truly gifted. The characters are hilariously real and the writing is just amazing--the similes and metaphors are to die for. This book was a laugh riot from beginning to end. It's theme is universal--LOVE hurts but you survive it, even though you're dead sure you won't.
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