Women have been known to lament, "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride." For Johnny Smith, the problem is, "Always a Best Man, never a groom." At age 33, housepainter Johnny has been Best Man eight times. The ultimate man's man, Johnny loves the Mets, the Jets, his weekly poker game, and the hula girl lamp that hangs over his basement pool table. Johnny has the instant affection of nearly every man he meets, but one thing he doesn't have is a woman to share his life with, and he wants that desperately. When Johnny meets District Attorney Helen Troy, he decides to renounce his bro-magnet ways in order to impress her. With the aid and advice of his friends and family, soon he's transforming his wardrobe, buying throw pillows, ditching the hula girl lamp, getting a cat and even changing his name to the more mature-sounding John. And through it all, he's pretending to have no interest in sports, which Helen claims to abhor. As things heat up with Helen, the questions arise: Will Johnny finally get the girl? And, if he's successful in that pursuit, who will he be now that he's no longer really himself? THE BRO-MAGNET is a rollicking comedic novel about what one man is willing to give up for the sake of love.
The Twitter buzz about this book made me pick it up, and I'm so very glad I did. It was a wonderful way to spend a Friday afternoon and evening.
First, put aside the title and the cover (though I do think the title is funny -- a definite precursor of what's to come). Johnny Smith is center stage as a guy's guy, a single house painter in his 30s who seems to attract and keep a variety of male friends. He feels cursed with women -- his mother died in childbirth -- so he's maintained a specific style throughout his adult life. It's only when he meets Helen that he believes he needs to step up his game in order to woo and win her, and he turns to his lifelong buddies for hysterical help and advice.
The Bro-Magnet is a really, really funny book. Most of my internal thoughts while reading consisted of "Oh, Johnny." He does get himself into some sticky albeit laughable situations. While I don't think most men think like Johnny does, it's those thoughts which make him so down-to-earth and likeable. And who doesn't like a man who watches General Hospital?
(A very special thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of The Bro-Magnet.)