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The Guy Not Taken: Stories Hardcover – September 5, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1st Atria Books Hardcover Ed edition (September 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416535209
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416535201
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,180,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This collection of 11 stories written over the past 15 years reads like a series of studies for Weiner's larger chick lit portraits. As in the novels (Goodnight Nobody; Good in Bed), smart, acerbic, 30-something women battle dating damage and broken childhoods (absent fathers in particular) in order to build their own families—or to convince themselves they still want to. In "The Wedding Bed," a new bride realizes, "I thought that every story I would tell for the rest of my life will somehow be about this: about the man who left and never came back." "Mother's Hour" tightly focuses on new toddler trauma as experienced by first-time mothers and shows how motherhood can be another conduit for woman-to-woman envy and suspicion. In "Swim," sometime scriptwriter and obsessive swimmer Ruth, her face scarred from the car accident in which her parents died, must eschew the verbal "edge" she finds so compelling in men in order to find love. One roots for Weiner's characters as they come to terms—and in some cases, heal—from disappointment and neglect. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"The Guy Not Taken showcases a maturing Weiner...In Her Shoes author Jennifer Weiner is resigned to the fact that in some circles she is referred to as the 'Queen of Chick Lit.' But I challenge anyone who says her short-story collection, The Guy Not Taken, isn't serious women's fiction. Not that there's anything wrong with chick lit, but the women in these stories are a far cry from the Manolo-obsessed bubbleheads sometimes found in chick lit novels. These women apply healthy doses of self-doubt, loneliness and misgivings along with their lip gloss and mascara. All the stories in Weiner's collection have that 'Calgon, Take Me Away' quality to which smart women, whose lives are complicated by careers, men, babies, parents and siblings, can relate." -- USA Today<br /><br />"The Guy Not Taken takes Weiner to next level as author...With her latest collection Weiner is proving that the masters of the oft-maligned chick lit genre are voices to be reckoned with. An accessible anthology that takes readers on a ride through divorce, heartbreak, insecurity and what might have been, The Guy Not Taken is a tender, thought-provoking read that puts Weiner on the map as one of her generation's best literary voices." -- Boston Herald<br /><br />"These autobiographical stories suggest that Weiner is the kind of wise-cracking pal who makes a great lunch date. In Swim, a woman who left her TV job after her sexy writing partner led her on, then eloped with the show's star, helps a nebbish craft a personal ad. When he says he's picked 'Lonelyguy 78' as his screen name, she blurts, 'Was 'Desperateguy' taken?' Even a coda on the inspiration for the stories is a hoot. The heroines-hooked-on-bad-boys notion wears thin, but fans will savor Weiner's confidential tone and salty wit. [3 out of 4 stars]" -- People<br /><br />"These stories range from an old lady held hostage to a New Yorker who gives up killer real estate for a guy. Weiner's fans will recognize the kooky-kid-sister sagas, but it's the new territory notably Swim and Dora on the Beach that shouldn't be missed. A-" --Entertainment Weekly

"These stories range from an old lady held hostage to a New Yorker who gives up killer real estate for a guy. Weiner's fans will recognize the kooky-kid-sister sagas, but it's the new territory notably Swim and Dora on the Beach that shouldn't be missed. A-"

-- Entertainment Weekly<br /><br />"The Guy Not Taken takes Weiner to next level as author...With her latest collection Weiner is proving that the masters of the oft-maligned chick lit genre are voices to be reckoned with. An accessible anthology that takes readers on a ride through divorce, heartbreak, insecurity and what might have been, The Guy Not Taken is a tender, thought-provoking read that puts Weiner on the map as one of her generation's best literary voices."

-- Boston Herald<br /><br />"The Guy Not Taken showcases a maturing Weiner...In Her Shoes author Jennifer Weiner is resigned to the fact that in some circles she is referred to as the 'Queen of Chick Lit.' But I challenge anyone who says her short-story collection, The Guy Not Taken, isn't serious women's fiction. Not that there's anything wrong with chick lit, but the women in these stories are a far cry from the Manolo-obsessed bubbleheads sometimes found in chick lit novels. These women apply healthy doses of self-doubt, loneliness and misgivings along with their lip gloss and mascara. All the stories in Weiner's collection have that 'Calgon, Take Me Away' quality to which smart women, whose lives are complicated by careers, men, babies, parents and siblings, can relate."

-- USA Today<br /><br />"These autobiographical stories suggest that Weiner is the kind of wise-cracking pal who makes a great lunch date. In Swim, a woman who left her TV job after her sexy writing partner led her on, then eloped with the show's star, helps a nebbish craft a personal ad. When he says he's picked 'Lonelyguy 78' as his screen name, she blurts, 'Was 'Desperateguy' taken?' Even a coda on the inspiration for the stories is a hoot. The heroines-hooked-on-bad-boys notion wears thin, but fans will savor Weiner's confidential tone and salty wit. [3 out of 4 stars]"

-- People<br /><br />"Weiner balances romantic formula with fresh humor, deft characterizations, and literary sensibility."

-- Elaine Showalter, The Guardian<br /><br />"With keen insights into women's lives, Weiner takes the serious themes of commitment, self-esteem and identity and mixes in moments of laugh-out-loud humor."

--The Philadelphia Inquirer


More About the Author

Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of eleven books, including Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, which was made into a major motion picture, and The Next Best Thing. A graduate of Princeton University, she lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com.

Customer Reviews

A bunch of short stories, that have no beginning, middle or ending.
Boys5times
I am a huge fan of Jennifer Wiener as an author but did not like this book at all.
Jennifer24
It's something you expect for a movie plotline, not a story you read in a book.
LadyoftheIvy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Dana Y. Bowles VINE VOICE on September 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
....but then I am not a fan of short stories. However--since I am a Weiner fan, I thought I'd try her latest work. I have to say...although the stories are well-written, for the most part, I am beginning to find the author's work repetitive. The stories all revolve around women who are physically imperfect (fat, scarred, etc.); there is typically a familial struggle...and typically it is an absentee father (divorced and not involved with his children, or simply desertion). And although her latest in no way measures up to her first (Good In Bed), I was thrilled to see Cannie make an appearance in one of the short stories. And thrilled though I was...let's face it, there is a Cannie in everything that this author writes. Cannie Clones are everywhere; she was the dowdy Connecticut housewife in Goodnight, Nobody...she was the lawyer sister in In Her Shoes....she was the overweight doctor's wife in Little Earthquakes. The reality is that Weiner is a fabulous writer who uses her talent as the proverbial therapist's couch. I'd like to see a wider array of characters in her future work...so let's hope she works through her issues and can move on to something a little more creative.

DYB
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Shaz on October 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Before you go comparing this book to Weiner's "Good in Bed", keep in mind that this collection of short stories were written before that book, "half a lifetime ago, [starting] when I was 18", she tells us. Many of these were written during her college years at Princeton, and she still had her professor's written notes "polish this up [and] publish it". Think of these stories sort of as rough drafts- not perfect, but the raw materials are there.

Many of Weiner's books focus around broken marriages, which tends to get repetitive. But Weiner admits that her parents spilt up when she was 17 and she was so hurt that all her stories, from freshman to senior year in college, revolved around divorce and broken families. In "Just Desserts", Josie Krystal and her family suffer greatly when her Dad decides to up and leave the family; meanwhile, Josie must deal with a Mother that is always doing laps in the pool and a younger sister who is spoiled rotten and somehow gets Josie to do everything she asks. All the while, we wonder wether this is Nicki's nature, or a result of abandonment issues. In "Swim", we find a girl who's parents died early on, forcing her to live with her grandmother. Now in her thirties in L.A., she makes a living rewriting college applications for spoiled rich kids. A chance encounter with a stranger in a coffee shop gives her the idea to also start a business rewriting personal ads for people, making them more "marketable". (Interestingly, Weiner tells us her editor really wanted this story for the book, but Weiner, who admits to being a clutter bug, couldn't find it. So, she had to rewrite it from her memory, changing it from a NY setting to L.A. She refers to it as "Swim 2.0").
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bearette24 VINE VOICE on September 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I'm generally not a fan of short stories, but I genuinely enjoyed some of these: Mother's Hour - about a punk mother who is unfairly accused of abusing her child, The Guy Not Taken - about a woman who looks up an ex-boyfriend online and suddenly finds herself back with him in an interesting fantasy sequence, Swim - about a shy girl who helps a guy find dates, Oranges from Florida - about a guy who pretends to be from a radio station and brings a prize to a boy, and Tour of Duty - Weiner's first published story, about a mother/son trip to Princeton and the mother awkwardly breaking the news about her impending divorce from his father.

Interestingly, the first story was pretty bad...I'm wondering why it was placed so early in the collection, as that's what readers look at first. However, it was one of her earliest stories, and you can definitely see how she's improved over time. Most of the stories were of more recent vintage and much better than the first one, so I'd advise you to give the rest of the book a chance.

I do agree with some of the other reviewers who said that this book is too dark. It's better than Goodnight Nobody, but I'd like to see Weiner return to her light-hearted, funny style (which is shown in some of the stories, but not all).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Schindler on March 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
My husband, knowing I'm a fan of Jennifer's books, bought this one for me for Christmas. I fully enjoyed it and finished it w/in hours. I found it quite easy to read, especially since the short story format can fit well into a busy schedule...finish a story, go to work, pick up book, and start a new story. Enjoyed it very much. Also, SO WHAT if Weiner puts a "fat" person in her stories. As a "fat" person (who really isn't fat, but in today's society, anyone over a 10 is considered heavy), I appreciate heroines who I can relate to. Not everyone is a stick-thin model living the glamorous life in New York City. Some of us are "real" women who make a living as teachers, mommies, or housewives. Kudos, Jennifer, for including "real" women in your stories.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JEM on January 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
While I really liked her novels, this compilation of short stories was sooooo boring! I took this on my vacation of relaxation and found myself annoyed with each story (because I love chick lits) and couldn't even finish the book. Each of the stories really lacked a point in general. It was like reading random books. Short stories should have some sort of point to them. Blah. Dull. Pointless. Boring. Unsatisfying.
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