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Men Beware Women Paperback – September 25, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gwen Thompson was the kid who always ran out of paper for writing assignments in elementary school, when she wasn't getting busted by her teachers for reading too much. This prompted her to earn a Master's degree in Creative Writing from Boston University, winning the Florence Engel Randall Short Story Award and the Lawrence H. Blackmon Book Collecting Prize. She graduated from Bowdoin College, where she won the Nathaniel Hawthorne Short Story Prize, and spent her junior year at Oxford, learning to put milk in her tea, drink warm beer, and watch as much live Shakespeare as humanly possible. She lives in Brooklyn.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Miami University Press (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1881163512
  • ISBN-13: 978-1881163510
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,959,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At its heart, "Men Beware Women" is a coming-of-age story, but it will also appeal to Anglophiles, fans of Shakespeare, academics, rowers, and anyone who has ever wondered what it might be like to spend their junior year abroad. It is beautifully written. Looking forward to seeing more from this author!
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Format: Paperback
I enjoy fiction that embeds me in a time or place I'd like to explore, and which is written with the perspective of a traveler or expatriate in that land. Gwen's novel exhibits a mastery of literary realism, which succeeds at placing the American student Malcolm at Oxford around 1990.

While her dialogue and characters are strong, one of Gwen Thompson's outstanding talents is in the description of setting. It is an overlooked quality, like the cleanliness of a clean room: you don't tend to notice it unless it is done poorly. She knows which elements of a scene deserve to be present on the stage of the reader's imagination; she also knows to keep these tangential descriptions slim and noninvasive lest they become distracting to the plot, or--worse--a bore. For example, she slips into the flow of a scene:

"...Malcom sat down at the kitchen table; blackened with age and grease, wood grain raised with scrubbing, it looked left over from another century."

Tangential details of custom and terminology also do much to place the reader in the setting, and they are worked in seamlessly to support rather than disrupt the plot.

The characters also seem realistic and ring true to my own, very different college experience. Malcolm represents a believable male protagonist written by a female writer. As a male reader, I cannot help but notice this is something not all female writers pull off, just as the inverse, a female character in male writing, probably does not always read as "right" to a female reader. Rather than overthinking the gender difference, I think Gwen simply focused on writing a real person. Whatever the case, I believed in and identified with Malcom's motivations and lovelorn plight.
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Format: Paperback
The primary reason I read novels is to feed my hunger for illumination which leads to ‎hope. The books I love best are the ones that offer an opening into deeper wisdom. ‎Long, wandering novels that simply illustrate the pain inherent in the human condition ‎slide into the bookcase and never leave. Luckily for me, in Men Beware Women, Gwen ‎Thompson artfully weaves the illumination I crave into an entertaining, page-turning ‎story about an American college student on a semester at Oxford. Theater, romance ‎‎(with a little sex), good food, humor, drinking, Shakespeare, family dynamics and, of ‎course, crew yield unexpectedly throughout to some beautifully written passages that ‎stir my thinking about fundamental human truths. ‎
My husband and I both enjoyed Men Beware Women thoroughly. It's a pretty quick ‎read; I finished it in a few enjoyable evenings and had to drag myself away from it each ‎night when it was time for bed (that pesky getting-up-for-work thing really gets in the ‎way of a good book sometimes). It's a great example of what the novella form can be ‎given proper care and feeding. Ms. Thompson effortlessly mixes the concise, rich ‎language and plot of a short story with the stride and depth of a novel. I'm looking ‎forward to reading more from this author!‎
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Men Beware Women" is a fun, funny, well-crafted romance story about a New Yorker studying abroad at Oxford and an aspiring English actress. Gwen Thompson has an amazing eye (and pen) for both detail and nuance which keep you engrossed, smiling, shocked and feeling like you're there.
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Equal parts smart, engaging and humorous, Men Beware Women is highly intelligent, often hilarious exploration of the cultural friction between England and New York, as experienced through an experiential lens of heartbreak and intellectual discovery. This book stands out for its keen observations and dialogue that unfolds in a truly inspiring manner. Reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh, MBW is one of those books that makes you feel smarter by reading it.

Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
This is an enchanting read. It is so intelligently written, fast paced with intriquing well developed characters . Malcolm is an American student studying in London managing to also become very familiar with pubs and falling in love. After seeing London through Malcolm's eyes, with so many fascinating tidbits, I can't wait to go back. I read it twice just to enjoy the author's beautiful phrasing.
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Format: Paperback
From the very first sentence to the last, the book transported me back to England. For good and for bad, I could smell it. I could taste it. I could feel it - and the STORY was great too! The characters both believable and relatable. It was an enjoyable read watching Malcolm grow into his own through Shakespeare during his first year at University, and meeting the like minded people who would surely shape his adulthood.
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Highly recommend. It is beautifully written and fun to read. I couldn't put it down and read it very slowly! The characters and places are alive and magical. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.
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