re

Khanh the Killjoy

The Story Guy (Novella)

The Story Guy - Mary Ann Rivers "'Story guys are like life highlighters. Your life is all these big blocks of gray text, and then a story guy comes in with a big ol’ paragraph of neon pink so that when you flip back through your life, you can stop and remember all the important and interesting places.'"This was such a sweet, beautiful, enjoyable book. I almost never read contemporary chick lit of this sort, but I've heard a lot of good things about this little book and I was drawn in. It is a novella, in any case, roughly 100 pages, not a significant investment of time.Usually in the contemporary women's lit I've read, the main character's life is pretty shitty. The main character is pretty SOL when it comes to career, life, love, and is dissatisfied with every aspect of her life. This is not the case with our main character. Carrie is best described as normal with a normal life. She is a librarian probably in her late 30s, with a nerdy, bookish sense of humor (her email address is librariansdeweyitbetter@villagemail.com, and her IM handle is lieberries). Oh, and she has a tattoo."'It's PS3568.A854 W4837 2003. The Library of Congress call number for Wilson Rawls's book Where the Red Fern Grows.'"I loved the shit out of that book as a child. Marry me, Carrie.She is in her late 30s, has a satisfying job at the library where she reigns over her kingdom of teen collections, has a satisfying relationship with her friends and loved ones. She dates around, but nothing too seriously. Carrie enjoys her life, it's a good life...but suddenly, she feels a sense of restlessness. You could call it a mid-life crisis of some sort, but it's nothing so drastic. Carrie just needs something a little different, a little routine to break the monotony of her day."When it comes to sex, I admit to feeling empty.The feeling is like those shiny gourds they sell this time of year that look so fat and heavy but are actually paper light, with seeds and strings rattling around inside. My life is cozy, but I’m starting to let myself think I want something wet and aching stabbed through it. I want something substantial. I want to gorge myself. Excess."Enter MetroLink, the book's version of Craigslist. One of her guilty pleasures (actually, one of mine too, sometimes) is to browse through the men's personals. She reads through them, savors them like a candy bar. Carrie's description of the ads, are dead-on, from the frat bros seeking a one-night stand, to the painful poseurs, to the men seeking BBWs, to the seniors."I usually skip those of the seniors, who seem to mainly post long and unparagraphed essays filled with ellipses and metaphors about spoiling a mistreated and much younger woman. Even worse are the painfully short single-sentence pleas that manage to cut open the loneliness of widowerhood or divorce after a long life with one woman."Then, she comes upon Brian's ad. Kissing only. No touching her below the shoulders. Wednesdays. Nothing more. His photo draws her in, he is a handsome man, and there's something about him that intrigues her. She replies. They meet for a steamy encounter that leaves her wanting more, but he backs away, just as promised in the ad. They exchange IMs, they talk, they share their story, their innermost emotions and thoughts. Carrie even asks Brian about why he doesn't want anymore than "just Wednesdays," and he answers truthfully, but always holds something back.Usually, this is the point in the book where a guy is holding off on commitment and I slam my hands down to internally screech at the main character "GET THE FUCK OUT OF THIS, GIRL, THIS MAN IS NOT WORTH IT." But you know what? I didn't. The way Brian is portrayed, all the injured, hurting, holding-back parts of him, seems absolutely sincere, even before we get to a reason. I like Brian. Before we know anything more about him, I just really liked him through their conversations, his sincerity, his honest desire for Carrie, all that makes me feel like I'm rooting for a guy who is not your typical asshole looking for a reason not to commit. He is a complicated, sweet, loveable man, and I loved both of them so much. His story is heartbreaking, and their love is complicated and well-earned. Highly recommended for a quick, light read to brighten your day.