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. ~From GoodReads
You know the guy, he's the one that has all the guys' attention. He's funny, loves his beer, is into sports, can tell a great story. He's dressed like a college frat boy, complete with the backwards baseball cap. He's a real "man's man". But the women? Not so much. From the moment Johnny was born, he's been a "disappointment to women". It began when his mother died shortly after his birth, after she discovered he wasn't the daughter she was hoping for. It continued with his Aunt Alfresca, who always reminded him (lovingly?!) that he killed her sister. Then there's Alice, the neighborhood girl who Johnny always secretly adored, who has nothing but disdain for him. Fast forward to age thirty-three, and not much has changed for poor Johnny. He's been a best man eight times. The only woman in his life is Sam, who also happens to love sports and beer, and would be perfect for him, if she were into men. So when Johnny meets Helen, he is determined to make all the changes necessary to win, and keep, the girl. But will it be worth if he can never be himself?
I have to start this review by saying, THE BRO-MAGNET is laugh-out-loud funny. I was reading this in the car on a roadtrip, and I kept busting out laughing and reciting lines for my husband. Very early on, I realized that the book would make a terrific movie. It could be one of those great comedies, starring someone like Vince Vaughn, that also has a nice bit of heart and a message.
The realistic, matter-of-fact narrative written by author Lauren Baratz-Logsted was a like a blast of refreshing air and offered a much needed change of pace for me. To be inside the mind of a man, especially one like Johnny, was a blast. It also gave me a lot to think about, to be honest, in regards to expectations, and trying to change people.
The heart of THE BRO-MAGNET is Johnny's journey to John, his transformation from an overgrown boy to a man. And how far he's willing to go to get the girl. The advice he gets is often hilarious and sometimes off. I'm beginning to think, compared to some of the women in the book, that I'm a bit off. Johnny/John loves sports, casual clothing and Morning Joe. All of to which I say "Yes! And can I have some more.". He's also smart and good looking. Um...I'm not seeing the problem here! Okay, I have to admit, I'm one of the most chilled-out wives ever, so my opionion probably doesn't count. Of course, he could stand to be a bit more charming or attentative, I get that. I just didn't want him to lose the essential (read:awesome) parts of his personality. And finding out just how far he's willing to go for Helen made me read this book at a blazing pace, exhilarated when the story came full circle.
THE BRO-MAGNET is a book that both men and women will love. The men will undoubtedly want to be him, while the women will want to fix him. The story is hysterical, surprisingly charming, and ultimately heart-warming.
(A little context: Johnny is being berated by his best friend's wife, Alice, for his immature style, particularly for wearing a baseball cap.The whole conversation was so funny.)
"Nearly everything that's wrong with this world can be traced to some guy somewhere wearing a backwards baseball cap." (ebook, 60%)
Published December 11th 2011 by TKA Distribution
You can purchase THE BRO-MAGNET at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Source: Received from the author/publisher via NetGalley.