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The Guy Not Taken by Jennifer Weiner - Book Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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The Guy Not Taken by Jennifer Weiner

The Guy Not Taken - Courtesy Atria

The Bottom Line

The Guy Not Taken is a well-written collection of short stories about sympathetic, relatable characters. Fans of Jennifer Weiner’s previous works, including bestsellers like Good in Bed and In Her Shoes will find much to admire in these stories, which deal with women, relationships, families, and emotional struggles. Other readers, though, might find that there’s too little substance in each story to really absorb the reader the way her novels do.
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Pros

  • Weiner is skilled at storytelling, and the writing is seamless and effortless to read.
  • “Swim” and “The Mother’s Hour” are standout stories that resonate with emotional impact.

Cons

  • The character developments and conclusions feel rushed in some of the stories.

Description

  • Jennifer Weiner’s collection of short stories revisits old characters but also breaks new ground.
  • The stories are arranged chronologically by character’s age, from teenager to retired woman.
  • The stories are most told from a woman’s perspective, but they deal with a wide range of issues.

Guide Review - The Guy Not Taken by Jennifer Weiner - Book Review

The Guy Not Taken is an enjoyable book and quick to read. This short story collection includes efforts from throughout Jennifer Weiner’s writing career, according to the author’s notes. Their quality doesn’t fluctuate, as one might expect, particularly since some of the stories originated in a college writing class.

Some of the stronger stories include “Swim,” which follows a young writer in Los Angeles trying to find professional fulfillment while struggling with her own painful past. “The Mother’s Hour” is about the unlikely friendship between a mid-thirties suburban mother and a young untraditional mother, and the consequences of their different lifestyles. These stories contain enough emotional power and subtle narrative surprises to satisfy the reader. “Oranges from Florida” is a unique premise and perspective for Weiner, and it’s one of the most creative stories in the The Guy Not Taken.

Other stories will appeal to fans of Weiner’s other work, including “Good Men,” which is a prequel to Good in Bed. And the first three stories in the collection echo the characters and plot of In Her Shoes. Weiner’s previous novels are well-known, and fans of her writing will likely be pleased with this collection. Some, though, might miss the lengthy, slow development a novel affords—in a few of the short stories the characters and resolutions feel rushed. Weiner’s narrative touch seems better suited to the longer, more understated novel form, rather than the short story.

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