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Being Anti-Social Paperback – May 19, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
I highly recommend this book to all readers that appreciate intelligence and humor in the written word; qualities sadly lacking in most modern fiction.
When Mace Evans is accused of being anti-social by her older sister she gives the complaint considerable thought. While she admits her idea of a good time is an evening spent alone with a bottle of merlot and a slab of chocolate on her couch, she resists the idea that she "unwilling or unable to associate in a normal or friendly way with other people". Over the course of a year or so, as Mace approaches forty unmarried and childless, she examines her past and present relationships in an effort to define herself.
Being Anti-Social is well written but I found it difficult to sustain interest in what is essentially a first person monologue. Perhaps if I had been able to identify with Mace it wouldn't have been such an issue but I found it difficult to like, or even understand her. She treats the people in her life carelessly, often with barely veiled contempt, and I thought her behaviour bordered on narcissistic, expecting family, friends, lovers and even colleagues to accommodate her personality 'quirks'. Though there are incidents that counter her selfishness, and some signs of growth, I didn't warm to her, which I think is crucial in such a character driven piece.
As I was unable to make that crucial connection with the main character, Being Anti-Social did not really work for me, despite the author's technical proficiency. However I do think this novel would find an audience amongst readers who can relate to Mace and her journey.
Mace Evans is one of five children in her family, with two older brothers and two sisters, one older and one younger. She's 38 when the novel begins, and she's unmarried, childless, and "anti-social," according to her older and "unloved" sister, Shannon. She's also a severe disappointment to her mother. On the other hand, she respects and admires her younger sister and her brothers. She considers her father "cute, cuddly, lovable, and a beacon of life."
Despite her proud independence and desire to be left alone, Mace is also one of a group of five women who've been friends from their high school days--but she admits she continues to like only one of them, Kimba, "the voice of reason."
Mace is "rather successful" in her "career as a finance executive," even though she tells us her co-workers consider her "unfriendly," "abrasive," and "offensive." On the other hand, she's kind to her secretary and secretly enjoys the fights her peers so frequently engage in.
The novel begins with Mace's admission of the crucial mistake she made in her life. She fell in love with Ben, married him, and remained in love with her "perfect husband" to the end of his short life. (He's dead from leukemia when the novel begins.) And yet she caused their separation and divorce by embarking upon an affair with another man, Joshua, who was "a star when it came to bedroom achievements." After Mace ended the affair, Joshua vengefully told Ben about it.Read more ›
Mace is one of five children and she adheres to the thought that middle children have particular personality traits that drive their behavior. When her older sister calls her anti-social, this affects her psyche and drives her to act antagonistically toward her sister. Nearing 40, Mace has had some upsets in her life in the affair she had while married and the death of her husband after their separation. Getting her life back to the level it was before all this occurred seems impossible but her friends and family attempt to help her regardless of what she wants.
While the specific setting of a story isn't always vital to the narrative, bringing clarity to it ought to be done in an effective manner so as to not shock readers. I was unaware it was Australia due to lack of outside clues until the Mace brought it up in relation to the traveling she's done and then some of the linguistic choices made sense. While pegged as a humorous, chick-lit story, I found it to be neither of those things - with the majority of the humor coming from Oscar Wilde quotations - and instead a relatively serious introspection into the psyche of Mace's life and grief, sprinkled with a conservative amount of levity through some of Mace's observations.
Overall, I'd give it a 2.5 out of 5 stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Easy read, but makes you think. Very we'll written and the story was easy to follow. Love the flowing, witty writing style with much sarcasm.Published 2 months ago by Megan Reeves
I enjoyed the journey of self discovery and I really enjoyed how well Cunningham portrayed her cast as people that you can relate to. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Krissy Malott
It was long and winded, and somewhat hard to follow. Good story line though.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Leigh K Cunningham does an interesting job of illustrating the lead character, Mace, as being seriously emotionally damaged as a result of the end of her marriage, due to her... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Spiritelf
This was a great book! It made you feel like you were sitting in with her group of friends and part of the 'action'!!!! It is wonderfully written! Read morePublished 12 months ago by Stephanie
It was cute but not a page turner. It does not make me want to hurriedly download other books by this authorPublished 13 months ago by pumpkin8
I enjoyed the humor in this book. It was a great take on family dynamics. I also loved all the Oscar Wilde quotes.Published 13 months ago by Susan Workman