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Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor Hardcover – February 14, 2003
All Books, All the Time
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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.
Top customer reviews
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.
Despite all this "insanity," Marin doesn't leave Elisabeth. It is she who dumps him for another guy (which, in my opinion, shows she's about the smartest person in the book.)
He then uses his failed marriage as "material" to get women's sympathy and get them into bed. As pathetic as this is, I can't say I blame him. After all, you've got to use what you have and Marin - well, he's got nothing.
So here comes the long, and very dull, list of his encounters with women. There is Kim, a girl he meets in Halifax who takes him up on his invitation and travels to New York. When she tells him she likes being close to him, he assumes she wants to marry him: "She was already on our honeymoon," he writes. (Why is it that the men with the tiniest lives and fewest accomplishments tend to have the biggest egos?) When the same girl, who has crossed the Ocean to visit him, is hurt that he's dating other people, he accuses her "of speeding from zero to intimacy like a Ferrari," but when a guy calls a woman he's been out with on three dates, he acts all offended.
There is Tiina, a girl he compares to Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction." (No, she hasn't boiled any rabbits or done pretty much anything else, except get upset when he breaks-up with her over the phone). Kay, a beautiful and rich girl he ends up dumping for being "too normal." Tabitha, an intern who becomes his SOG (Sort-of Girlfriend), since she is too young to be the real thing. (There are others, but it's all too boring to recount.) And Ilene, the woman he finally falls for, who spent $100,000 in therapy trying to get over a boyfriend she broke up with three years before, and whose main virtue seems to be that she sees right through Marin's lame lines.
In the whole book, there is just one (unintentionally) funny line: "My issue was that I had no issues," Marin writes. Right. And you also look like Brad Pitt.
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