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No More Mr. Nice Guy: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, September 27, 2011

1.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, September 27, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Frank Ritz is having the inverse of a midlife crisis. After a youth replete with free, unlimited sex, he finds at 50 that he wants none of it, even though he’s just been booted from a long-term relationship. Kicked out of his London home, he still has his Saab, and with "that old truant sensation of release from homework," he starts driving. As Frank visits the towns where he had various liaisons, the story becomes a remembrance of vaginas past. Mr. Jacobson, who won the 2010 Man Booker Prize for "The Finkler Question,"  is shockingly funny. Meaning: Not only are his jokes ferocious (an Ethiopian prostitute is said to have "famine legs"), but they are consistently hilarious too. If only most of them weren’t too raunchy to quote."

—Susannah Meadows, New York Times 

"Jacobson, who won the Man Booker for The Finkler Question, writes like a Jewish Evelyn Waugh. Laugh-out-loud observations abound."

—Publishers Weekly

"[An] entertaining, sexually laden picaresque…A lovely, lively novel for all its sometimes bitter view of the war between the sexes; impeccably written, and without a false note."

—Kirkus Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Frank Ritz has been on heat more or less continuously since he could speak his own name. But what happens when sex is all you know but no longer what you want? --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Original edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608196879
  • ASIN: B008W3XDO2
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 1.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,826,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Darryl R. Morris on December 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Frank is a 50 year old British television critic, who has just left his partner, a highly dysfunctional author of feminist porn plagued by bulimia and neuroses. He is literally a talking and breathing penis, whose thoughts about having sex are interrupted only by eating, sleeping and other necessary bodily functions. He returns to Oxford and other towns where his sexual conquests as an adolescent and young man took place, but to his apparent surprise, he cannot relive the past. The novel is well written, but incredibly juvenile, vulgar and boring, and it may well be the worst book I've read this year.
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Format: Paperback
I was somehow intrigued by this book because all the reviews on Amazon were so terrible, but the author had won a Booker Prize, which usually guarantees quality (I had grabbed the book after quickly glancing at the cover blurb). It sounded good - a picaresque about a fifty year old on a sex romp. Well - the book was good enough to finish but just barely. It was funny and crude but none of the characters, especially the main character, were at all likable. The comparisons to Philip Roth, I determined, are not really valid. I later discovered that this book was published in the UK in 1998 but only recently released here in the US - I think the idea was to put "Man Booker Prize winner" on the cover and lure people like me into reading it. That worked, I guess.
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Format: Paperback
In spite of the writing, this book was self-indulgent, dull, difficult to read and unrewarding. Parts of the book were quite raunchy (or titillating, depending on your point of view) but they improved neither the plot nor the characters.

A complete waste of time. I gave it two stars because of the obvious care with which the author constructed his prose, but in the end the writing did not save this book. Not even close.
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Format: Paperback
Frank Ritz, finds himself in a conundrum, he lives his days watching worthless television as his partner, lover becomes more isolated into her writing world. She demands quiet and has a certain way of being, but his television watching is what pays the bills, while her erotic writing fulfills her creative needs.
After one last straw, Frank is on an odyssey to seek the underbelly of human sexuality. To discover deviant behavior and find what floats his boat.
In No More Mr. Nice Guy, you discover that often what you really want, is not what you really want. A humorous peek into the intriguing world of one man's desires and discovers that he really never needed to venture farther from his own bed room.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I laughed when I saw that of the 17 reviews of this book to date, 11 are one-star and 3 are two-star. They got it right, in my mind, but it still is funny.

If your idea of a good time is reading about a raging misogynist's sexual career, here you go. This is the book for you.

I thought for a minute there was potential. The author is inclined to make observations and commentary, and I tend to like that kind of thing. However, that turned out to be a point against him the more I got to know the protagonist. The observations and commentary continued, yes; only each word of it added to the repulsion I'd begun to feel towards this Frank Ritz person. If the main character had remained inscrutable I'd still have hated him, but hated him less.

Having said that... The worst crimes of this novel, over and above everything, are being boring, repetitive, and without focus (well, besides the general theme of SEX). It seemed to me like the dude who wrote it had a beginning and an end in mind, with no clear plans for the middle. He just sent his protagonist out wandering and made it up as he went. There are times-- rare times-- when an author does that and it works out perfectly. This wasn't one of them-- if indeed that is how the book was written. If not, good job making it seem that way.
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Format: Paperback
As I admitted in the title, I could not make it through the complete book. Thus if the book takes a spctacular turn past it's midpoint and ends in a flurry, my judgement would be unfair. However, given what I read I highly doubt it's that kind of book. I was short of reading material and this was the only book around. That's the only reason I was forced to read as much as I did. The book had some (very few) really funny and poignant lines in the beginning (stomping on the towel scene). However it just dragged on and really failed to hold my interest. I wasn't sure where the story was headed - which can be exciting based on writing - but for this book I just felt lost. Just didn't do it for me :-(
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Format: Kindle Edition
Television critic Frank Ritz is being thrown out of his own house by his partner, Melissa Paul. Melissa writes feminist pornography for a living, and she can no longer concentrate with Frank in the house. So he takes his laptop computer and his portable television on the road, going from hotel to hotel across Britain revisiting scenes of his past life. Frank, we learn, has been obsessed with sex since childhood, and if he isn't spending the night with a girlfriend or a friend's wife, it's with a prostitute. But now, at age 50 and having a mid-life crisis, he isn't sure at all what he wants or what he needs.

Unfortunately the novel has something of an identity crisis itself. It goes in too many directions for there to be any meaningful development of any single theme. Are we concerned with Frank's age, his sexual identity, his attitude towards women, his unfulfilling career? Or is this about society in general, sexual hangups, women's attitudes towards men, towards themselves? There are some interesting observations on all of these topics--in between the raunchy sex scenes--but if and how Frank develops as a character is just as puzzling as what the title, "No More Mr. Nice Guy," has to do with anything in the story.

Howard Jacobson's The Finkler Question is an excellent and thoughtful novel. Its success has evidently led to the wider release of Jacobson's earlier works. No More Mr. Nice Guy in no way measures up. Readers who like Philip Roth will be on familiar ground with Frank Ritz's sexual anxieties, but it's an unconvincing, unfunny novel that just doesn't say much.
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