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Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor Hardcover – February 14, 2003
The Amazon Book Review
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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, Cad 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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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This consisted of dating many women in succession - I certainly don't blame him for that - but where he does become a cad is where he lies to a girl who is happy to have an "arrangement" with him as long as neither are seieng other people. Hey, I don't totally blame him for that, either; he was pretty honest in saying that he wasn't looking for a "future" with her, and she stayed in the game, but it's just an example of his "caddiness".
I guess this is a typical memoir of dating life in NYC - so many beautiful single people squashed on a little island makes for a toxic dating scene, I think, but hey, I live in the anti-ny, so I'm biased.
It didn't really stick out at me as anything of superior quality - it read like chick-lit, but from a male perspective. So instead of a local coffeehouse, he hangs out at a topless bar. He has all the same career/friend/family adventures, though. Nothing really original. Different gender, same problems... not a bad way to spend a few hours...
For much of the book, the writer works freelance, including writing articles for fashion and beauty magazines such as Allure and Mademoiselle. Although his work may address things naive women can do when 'he' doesn't call, the writer is more cavalier in his own life--he doesn't call because he never had any intention of calling you and doesn't care. Many of the female characters in the book are self involved, insecure, or just flighty, offering some amusement in the cavalier treatment they receive from the cad. The vulnerability of some of these women sheds some unflattering light on the writer at times.
Consistent with other stories of this genre, the writer grows into an adult during the course of the book. Treatment of a family tragedy is conveyed well and with empathy, without being overly sentimental. However, the final pieces where the writer finds true love aren't consistent with the rest of the novel and feel like they don't quite fit.
Overall, a novel with some literary pretensions that manages to entertain most of the time.
First, the author is no cad. (I know because I am one and he's never at the meetings...) In fact, Marin is from a pretty decent Toronto family/neighborhood, got a first job at Harper's after journalism grad school, and did other respectable and semi-adult things (like try to make money) after. Not typical cad territory, I'm betting. What seems to qualify him as a cad is that he occasionally dates women, maybe sleeps with them, and then doesn't marry them. Also, that he keeps some sort of diary (i.e., secret un-PC notes). Whoo-wee, call out the Terminator!
Second, Marin is no bachelor -- if you take a bachelor to be a never-married male above a certain age. He's divorced. And the whole first part of the book has insufferable and totally uninteresting details about his wife, how they met and fell in love, their typical break-up, ladeedadeeda... And even if you give him some leeway because they didn't have any kids in their approx. four years together, he's not even (or much over) thirty; ya gotta be over 35 (40's better) to really qualify as a bachelor. (Quick, someone contact ABC!) I think the cover writer just thought "toxic bachelor" sounded hip and disparaging of males in the way now deemed to be socially acceptable in some unenlightened circles populated by bigots -- much like "testosterone poisoning" was a few years ago. Ok, so she probably took one too many Feminist Studies classes in college learned to hate men. Insightful the term is not. Marin actually comes across as a pretty nice and decent guy with more or less typical dating woes. Which makes for really boring reading.
Third, the only part of what you see on the cover that might vaguely be accurate is the "confessions" part, since the material *is* autobiographical. But it's not like these pages were beaten out of him under a bare bulb after hours of duress and torture. At times he almost sounds like he's boasting a little. (Cads always do that.) I guess the idea is to make women think they're being given the inside scoop on the psyche of the elusive single male, which they're not -- at least not to any great degree IMO. The term "confessions" suggests the material should at least be unusual and maybe even interesting, but this is not.
The plethora of virtually meaningless detail (one of the common hazards of keeping a diary), the lack of much if anything new in the way of perspective, and the author's tendency to try too hard at sounding pithy and clever -- all this made it difficult to get more than about 120 pages into this thing before seeing the writing on the wall and giving up. And I really don't care how it turned out or even why he was writing it all down a decade later.
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