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Glover's Mistake First Edition Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0670020973
ISBN-10: 0670020974
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. It's hard to like a self-appointed cultural critic, but teacher-by-day, blogger-by-night David Pinner makes it schadenfreude-fun when he turns his loathing scope on his closest friends and then himself in Laird's latest (after Utterly Monkey). David, an oafish 35-year-old Londoner, reunites with Ruth Marks, the gorgeous and famous 47-year-old American artist who briefly taught him (and promptly forgot him) in college. David falls for her while she's in town for an artist-in-residence program, but Ruth prefers David's bartending flatmate, Glover, a 23-year-old virgin grappling with faith and the father he's left behind. Though David succinctly lambastes the very idea of love (Information killed it), he plots to wedge himself between Glover and Ruth—sometimes with an epically intense dishonesty. Whether David is saving his sometimes overwhelmingly flawed friends from a tragic error or making one himself—or both—the book offers a bit of twisted redemption in its hilarious nod to selfishness of all stripes. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

David Pinner is a lonely, overweight thirty-five-year-old English teacher, who pseudonymously writes a dyspeptic London culture blog, The Damp Review, where he is “unafraid, hard-boiled, outrageous.” When David becomes friends with his former teacher Ruth Marks, a prominent American artist, he senses that “his life had turned a corner,” and when she falls for his handsome young flatmate, James Glover, he refuses to be marginalized. Laird convenes a cast of enjoyably catty art-world types, and grants David, even as he longs to be included, an unsparing awareness of their affectations, “their casual manners and ironic patter, their insinuation that surface was depth.” The attempts at wit mostly fall short, but the cultural insights are persuasive—artistic analogy gives “endless, untrue hope for reconciling everything.” As David’s preoccupation with Ruth and James becomes increasingly malevolent, an archetype emerges: the disaffected blogger, “searching not for things to love but a place to put his rage.”
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (July 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670020974
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670020973
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,300,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marblehead VINE VOICE on August 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book was really difficult to finish. Not because it was offensive, or shocking, or I thought that the author didn't have any abilities. It's that the book was so boring in its retreading of so many other stories before it. It reminded me of the show Friends with some cocaine and sex scenes thrown in. Laird tries to shake up what is otherwise an tired old love-triangle tale by attempting to be cutting edge with some vulgarities, but it just ends up being a cliched mess. Every character in the book reeks of pretentious platitudes, and they all send off an air of privileged "me me me" attitudes. This could be fine if Laird would have balanced this with some irony or some distractions that showed these characters for the inept whiners they are, but he never does. They just perpetually spin into a self-serving vortex that makes you want to scream (or close the book forever!)
While I was reading this story it made me think of many other, and better, books about relationships I've read in the past, and by the end of Glover's Mistake I could only think that I was the one who made the mistake of reading this book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Glover's Mistake" started with some promise. Sorta interesting characters, good dialogue, and some ambiguity in what people were about. There are some art scene personalities that are interesting but a bit cookie cutter, and there is some art philosophy / gibber gabber that is pretty spot on. I think Laird is best at dialogue and depicting social situations which are awkward but feel real.

About halfway through this book becomes a downward spiral. You realize that none of the characters are likable and the main protagonist is on the verge of evil. Not much of a plot is going on, just scheming and cover-up and the foibles of being a creep. There are also modern culture references / criticism, but towards the end it's like Laird is spouting his philosophy as if it's not a novel but an essay.

I don't recommend this book. Laird is a good writer; I got this one because I enjoyed "Utterly Monkey" so much, and I'd recommend that one first. "Glover.." turned out to be a major downer with very little positive to make it worthwhile for me.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While this book is set, ever so superficially, in the London art scene, it has virtually nothing to do with either London or any art scene. Yes, there are a couple of openings, and yes, there are a few lines of coke, but it's all irrelevant to the story - these people could have been working at a laundry in Des Moines for all it mattered.

It starts out slowly, as the protagonist (David) seems dreary from the first, and nothing changes that. While his internal dialog is occasionally witty, it's at strange odds with his conversation, which is puerile, and often embarassing to the reader.

We're supposed to see this as a love triangle, in which David's unreturned infatuation with the artist Ruth is derailed when she becomes involved with David's flatmate Glover. David broods, whines, and eventually manipulates a destruction of Ruth and Glover's relationship. This might seem sad, except that one doesn't really care what happens to the relationship: Ruth is unsympathetic, and Glover always seems in way over his head.

Glover's mistake, which ends his relationship with Ruth, seems inconsistent with his character and ends the novel on a false note that reflects a lack of imagination on the writer's part.

Miss this.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Glover's Mistake is about the love triangle between lonely, single David, his young roommate Glover, and Ruth, an eccentric, middle-aged artist.

A Few Positives
- Ruth's daughter Bridget is probably the most dynamic, interesting character in the novel. Sassy, rebellious and intelligent she enjoys pointing out her mother's hypocrisies.
- David's bitter sarcasm can be entertaining.

The Negatives
- Controversy becomes cliche; blogging, snorting coke, older women dating younger men, religion, and modern art. Laird is trying too hard to connect with this generation. He instead should have picked one or two and really developed the issues.
- The scheming that occurs in the second half of the novel is contrived and an obviously desperate attempt to add excitement to the plot.
- The three main characters aren't interesting or well-developed.
- Laird is trying to monopolize on the whole "cougar" trend currently occurring. This would be fine if he was being innovative about it- he is not. The relationship follows the exact trend you would expect.

Unfortunately, I was very disappointed with this novel and would not recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Romantic used to refer to an expression of deep feeling . . . and now it's become nothing less than an insult, meaning one is unrealistic and possesses an idealized notion of the way things should be."

In college David Pinner developed a crush on his teacher Ruth Marks. Years later she has returned to London for an exhibition of her artwork and David goes to meet her. Knowing no one else in the area David and Ruth quickly become friends, and, naturally, Ruth meets David's much younger roommate James Glover. Unfortunately for David, Ruth falls for Glover. And pretty quickly, what should be a casual fling between a woman pushing 50 and a man barely old enough to drink starts to become more serious.

The characters in the story are very well fleshed out. David Pinner is a self-sabotaging perfectionist. His expectations are unrealistic so he's always disappointed and frustrated. Ruth Marks is a directionless artist. She tends to live in the moment and has a laisez faire attitude toward relationships. And James Glover is a naïve idealist. He has trouble wrapping his conservative ideals around Ruth's bisexual history and three previous marriages.

The language author Nick Laird uses is dynamic, at times direct, but also filled with blunt, vivid metaphor.

The trouble with having a protagonist who doesn't like himself is it's hard for the reader to empathize with him. David Pinner aggressively sets himself up for disappointment, then, when the worst happens, he goes online and blogs about it, which, of course, comes back to bite him.

Also the trouble with stories leading to an "inevitable conclusion" is that there are no real surprises.

However the strong point of the story is its uncomfortably accurate character studies.
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