The 150-word Review: Avery Jankowsky is the type of man who’d attend “The Vagina Monologues,” eager to demonstrate his solidarity with the feminine cause as a sensitive, evolved male, but he’s a fraud; deep down he’s just trying to get laid.
Avery, the protagonist in Scott Spencer’s novel, “Willing,” is a freelance writer, a man who had four fathers (and four surnames), a cuckold, and a mess who chances upon an all-expenses-paid, high-end sex tour (read: not Thailand) and an once-in-a-lifetime book deal, but his neurosis gets in the way of any authentic experiences. Avery’s self-conscious moralistic hesitancy objectifies “whores” just as much as the “johns” he looks down upon. Whenever Avery approaches a visceral revelation, an odd deus ex machina interrupts him, returning him to a cloud of self-loathing that paralyzes the novel. I would have loved to see this concept in the more fearless hands of a Roth or an Irving.
Having this book on your shelf will impress: captains of industry, hedge fund managers, ex-NBA forwards, commodities traders, software billionaires, soldiers of fortune, and any other “powerful male” cliché.
This book will go great with: Avery Salvation – Belgian-style golden ale.
Set the mood with: Deus by The Sugarcubes.
Clavinism (stuff that will not make you look cool in a bar): Did you know Norm… that two of Spencer’s novels, “Endless Love” and “A Ship Made of Paper” have both been nominated for the National Book Award.