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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a newborn superstar
Wow, what a book. Fantastic writing and a totally believable plotline about a guy who's unlucky in love and looking for something just a little bit better. I read this book a couple of weeks ago but have to agree with the SF Chronicle review yesterday that called it exceedingly readable and wickedly funny. Bravo, and thanks for finally showing what it's really like to be...
Published on March 15, 2004 by stevenbull

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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chick lit for the male set
"Chick lit" has become a generic term for light fiction for young women. But what about guys? Kyle Smith presents the flip side of chick-lit, a light relationship-based book for guys called "Love Monkey." It's funny, light and sometimes quite sweet.
Average guy Tom is in his early thirties, lives in New York, has a rather pitiful rewriting job at...
Published on April 1, 2004 by E. A Solinas


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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a newborn superstar, March 15, 2004
By 
"stevenbull" (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Love Monkey: A Novel (Hardcover)
Wow, what a book. Fantastic writing and a totally believable plotline about a guy who's unlucky in love and looking for something just a little bit better. I read this book a couple of weeks ago but have to agree with the SF Chronicle review yesterday that called it exceedingly readable and wickedly funny. Bravo, and thanks for finally showing what it's really like to be a man who not only has a sense of humor, but a tender side, and nothing to do with it.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun, Hornby-lite read, February 19, 2004
By 
This review is from: Love Monkey: A Novel (Hardcover)
A copydesk editor for a New York tabloid dates around and moons over the 22-year-old beauty who plays with him while holding the torch for another man. Right off the bat the narrator takes funny shots at High Fidelity, knowing this book will seem like that one. Love Monkey lacks some of the poignancy and deeper insights about men that HF has to offer, but it is still very funny. I don't know how another reviewer could say there isn't one funny line in this book. Every page is chock full of about 20. The author is very clever and can turn humorous and satirical phrases like no other contemporary novelist I've read. The start is a little slow -- you wait for some plot to develop while chuckling over the one-liners. But it does get rolling once his love interest enters the scene. I like stories about young men trying to find love in the big city, and if that's your cup of tea, you'll thoroughly enjoy this one. (It also made me want to look for his byline in the books and movie section of People magazine, a section he edits.) Other recent funny novels about young men looking for love are Question of Attraction by David Nicholls and The Calligrapher by Edward Docx. I highly recommend both.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a look inside the male soul, March 16, 2004
By 
"jane_koppell" (Chevy Chase, Maryland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Love Monkey: A Novel (Hardcover)
OK, this book has women down cold. I admit it. It makes you laugh and it makes you squirm, but mostly it makes you wonder if the author is anything like his hero, Tom, a boy-man who really needs to catch a break from the parade of women he lusts after. The stuff he does to try to attract their interest (like staging a fight in a bar and attempting to make a romantic dinner with one pan) is so hilarious and yet so convincing that I'm going to make my book group read this. Hey guys: are you really like this inside?
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a talent to watch, March 23, 2004
This review is from: Love Monkey: A Novel (Hardcover)
Love Monkey is a first novel that works on two different levels, and succeeds brilliantly on both of them. It's funny, wickedly so and with many a sharp edge directed at (for instance) super-parents, overachieving cell-phone obsessed New York professionals and people who try to chat with you in elevators. But it's also about an insightful guy taking stock of himself at a crossroads, and it's this reflective tone that puts me in mind of a latter day Catcher in the Rye.
It begins with a long section that is breathlessly, can-you-top this funny, as the narrator Tom Farrell casts a gimlet eye on his snack-food and remote-control-littered bachelor hovel and invites us to laugh along with his sadly hilarious world. (A typical breakfast-after a long, Scotch-influenced night that may or may not have involved feeling sorry for himself while playing Simon and Garfunkel records-is a gallon of water and some Tylenol). He's a guy who worries that his generation-the lamest generation, the one that won no wars and launched no IPOs-will be remembered only for non-black tuxedoes, Justine Bateman and Men at Work. And his is a world where Bugs Bunny is sometimes his only friend and his occasional efforts to reach out and connect with somebody, anybody, only result in more confusion. First up is a German American paralegal, the kind who writes angry letters to the New York Times and has a habit of taking things entirely too seriously; Tom is strongly attracted to her (worrying at the same time that he could never date her because his Jewish friends would freak out), but despairs when he discovers she can't tell one Beach Boys song from the next, and has never even heard of the band's founding genius Brian Wilson. Oh well. She doesn't seem interested anyway. Moving right along.
We discover after a while that Tom is, professionally speaking, a lot more successful than you'd expect. His cynical take on everything is perfectly matched to his job: he is a gifted headline writer for a jazzed-up, hype-slinging New York City tabloid (called, natch, Tabloid) where he boasts that he was the first hack to ever call Michael Jackson "wacko Jacko," and the first to call Hugh Grant (after his arrest in the company of one Divine Brown) "overblown." The characters he works with are straight out of the classic screwball comedies of the 30s such as The Front Page. There's The Toad, a slovenly editor who is secretly scheming to make it to the top, and Rollo Thrash, a permanently soused story-chaser and raconteur who phones in his writings from a bar stool. Tom cheerfully cleans up Rollo's words but his real occupation in the newsroom is swooning. That's where Julia, an aspiring ballet dancer with a lot of knowledge of books and naughty French words, comes in. Tom is driven topsy turvy by her, and from his descriptions of her you can see why: her lips, he says, are the color of the first bottle of wine you ever got drunk on. They flirt, and do a lot more than flirt, but Julia is always holding back. It takes a long, long time for Tom to discover that she has a boyfriend. Oh yeah, and they're living together. Every guy has been in that situation with a girl-just this side of madness, willing to do anything for her. For some additional, and mighty suspect, advice in girl-chasing, he turns to his playboy best friend Shooter, a hunk in dreadlocks who owns a pair of pajamas that cost more than Tom's best suit, stands to inherit a fortune from the cole slaw business and is, unsurprisingly, the object of every young lady's affections. The banter between Shooter the cool and Tom the lost provides some of the wittiest dialogue in a book that is chock-a-block with it. Some of it reminded me of David Mamet's pointed writing. A better giver of advice is Tom's other best friend, Bran Lowenstein, a ladder-climbing TV producer who alternately tells him he's a loser and kisses him savagely when she suspects his head has been turned by another girl. You're rooting for Tom and Bran to get together-each out-wisecracks the other-but you won't be surprised if they never get together, either. Some people are just too much alike. All of these characters are so well drawn, with their every quirk and flaw captured by telling details, that you can't help but think of them as based on real New York figures. And the novel as a whole is so completely true to life that you can never, as in Catcher in the Rye, predict what is going to happen to our anti-hero next. It's rare to find a comic novel, especially a first novel (or even a tenth novel, for that matter) with this much style, wit, and poise. Smith is going to have a long career.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thoroughly entertaining, March 12, 2004
This review is from: Love Monkey: A Novel (Hardcover)
There are so many pleasures in this debut novel that it's hard to know where to begin. On one level, it's a sharp-eyed comedy with lots to say about single men chasing women (and their own demons), various New York city movers looking for an angle, the way well-meaning friends can give each other hilariously bad advice, and the (many) little ways that people who like each other can find their romance interrupted by a cellphone call or a law school exam. On another level, though, it's more serious than that; Smith is a comedian-philosopher. It's one of the best books I've read in the last year.
The book starts inside the cluttered mind of a confused 30-year-old man named Tom Farrell. Gradually, as he fires off joke after joke about how tired he is of being single, being harassed by his mother to get a serious girlfriend, of watching too much TV, we come to realize that he is seriously head over heels for a lovely aspiring ballet dancer named Julia. Both of them work at a grimy, hard-hitting, cynical New York newspaper called the Tabloid, and the fast-talking scenes at the paper are like a modern day update of the great screwball comedies like His Girl Friday. Despite knocking himself out trying to impress her--the scene where he tries to make a romantic dinner for Julia in his cramped apartment despite having no cooking ability grander than the skill to heat soup or spread peanut butter is particularly amusing-- Tom can't get Julia to commit to him. In fact, it takes him a good long while to even figure out that she already has a boyfriend, and isn't particularly looking for a new one. Nevertheless, her evenings with Tom get increasingly steamy.
Tom is forced to go back out on the town looking for someone to comfort him, and Smith perfectly evokes the upscale bar scene in New York City. Tom has one longtime best friend/enemy named Bran, who is every bit his match in cynicism and wisecracking, and like him she is a journalist. Unlike him, she takes it seriously, and thanks to the magic of the cellphone she is rarely separated from work for more than minutes. This makes Tom increasingly frustrated, but he can't resist Bran and at times he almost tells her so. Meanwhile, Bran's friend, a lawyer, comes on the scene and Tom quickly discovers that flirting with Bran's friend seems to make Bran more interested in him. The way all this stuff ends up may surprise you, especially as the book takes a more sombre turn towards the end. Love Monkey reminded me of the most intelligent romantic comedies, the ones you quote to your friends, like Annie Hall, When Harry Met Sally or Say Anything. But, with its frequent allusions to Hemingway and Bob Dylan's masterpiece Blood on the Tracks, it will leave you not only with a smile, but with a few things to think about. Ultimately it's the story of a guy very aware of his own faults who is trying his best to improve.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, moving, and so very true, March 2, 2004
By 
CC (New England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Love Monkey: A Novel (Hardcover)
Kyle Smith's "Love Monkey" is truly an incarnation of the book men have always wanted to write, and women have always wanted to read. It is the brutally honest, brilliantly funny "memoir" of a Tom Farrell, a journalist for a tabloid in the Big Apple, and his unquenchable thirst for sex and exhausting battle for the woman he loves. Continously throughout the novel, Farrell reveals his feelings regarding his life as a "manboy"- a male who is physically a man but emotionally and socially a thirteen-year-old boy, his unsatisfying sex life, and his revelation that every woman he displays interest in has some flaw that makes her incompatible. Then he meets Julia...she's cute, sweet, smart, and sexy...and she's practically engaged. You will laugh and cheer as Tom reveals the inner workings of the elusive male mind.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A twist on an old genre, March 25, 2004
This review is from: Love Monkey: A Novel (Hardcover)
It's not really chick lit, but it sort of is - only it's a rooster, not a chick. Tom Farrell, tabloid rewrite hack in NYC, is a loser and is determined to pass himself off as a sensitive guy who's in touch with his feminine side. His goal: to win the heart of shallow and manipulative Julia, tho it's hard to see what he finds so appealing in her.
Hilarious, revealing, and sarcastic, Love Monkey is ultimately a sociological and psychological study of the male species on the hunt, and it's a gas.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Seinfeld and Nick Hornby..., February 23, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Love Monkey: A Novel (Hardcover)
Tom Farrell is in his early thirties, and his world revolves around obtaining the un-obtainable woman- though any woman will do. While he wonders why he can't seem to score in a city seemingly full of eligible women, he cyncially philosphizes about work, new york, women, and life in general. On almost every page there are hilarious observations of characters and events during his everyday life, whether it be his co-workers at a New York tabloid, the cocktail parties he attends, or his couch. It's unclear how much Tom learns throughout the book, but he never fails to entertain. For those of you who miss new episodes of Seinfeld, and like Nick Hornby better when he isn't too sappy, this witty, entertaining, observational novel will fill the void.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars get this book, March 19, 2004
By 
"bestbecker" (Shaker Heights) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Love Monkey: A Novel (Hardcover)
Guys, you have to get this book. The first 50 pages are literally the funniest thing I ever read. There are innumerable great scenes set inside the newspaper world (I've seen a lot of sitcoms and movies about newspapers, but very few that actually seem like they were written by somebody who knows what they're talking about), the singles bars and the exclusive parties (including one in which Bill Clinton is the guest of honor), all of which leads to a really cool sense of NY atmosphere that is miles about the blandness of something like Friends. Also, the main character, tabloid journalist Tom and his alpha-male buddy Shooter, who is apparently the heir to the nation's cole slaw fortune, are two guys I would do Jagermeister shots with.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ribald & real--a really great book, February 5, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Love Monkey: A Novel (Hardcover)
This cover caught my eye in the bookstore on Wednesday--ordinarily these books (lad lit, chic lit, the whole SEX & THE CITY gloss on being young & hip & searching for love) put me off, but for once the testimonials on the jacket seemed more intriguing/convincing than usual, suggested something a little more sophisticated. So I bought it, got onto the subway, cracked it open--that was it, I was hooked, I missed my stop, by dinnertime my dinner hadn't been cooked but I'd finished the funniest, most surprisingly honest (if not entirely honorable) portrait of the male mind since, dunno. This goes against the grain of political correctness, and at the beginning it defies even the basic rule that the protagonist be likeable: at times throughout the book, this protagonist is anything BUT. Which means, I think, that what we get here is a view of a REAL guy as he is, not when he knows you're watching, but when he's on the other side of his locked apartment door, switching back and forth madly with the t.v. remote between porn and cartoons while potato chip crumbs grow personality between the cushions on his couch. He's funny, he's instinctive (like a monkey, I guess that's where the title comes from), he's self-obsessed, but his cravings are real and they strike a deep chord.
It's Thursday night and I'm halfway through my second reading, and I'm going to go out on a limb here & say that this is a book that boys & girls are going to read and like in equal measure, but perhaps for opposite reasons.
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Love Monkey
Love Monkey by Kyle Smith (Paperback - February 1, 2005)
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