Saturday, August 16, 2008

Assisted Loving by Bob Morris

Sub-titled True Tales of Double Dating with My Dad, Bob Morris, a 40-something, style writer for the NYT, gives us the skinny on his father's love life and his own involvement in it, (which sounds creepy but isn't). Only a few months after Bob's mom passes away, his 80+ year old father, Joe, an irrepressible character of a guy, starts dating again and asks Bob for his help. Bob, gay, single, and a perpetual self-saboteur of his own relationships, grudgingly agrees and quickly finds his father is getting way more action than he is. After a long, mostly happy marriage to a women he truly loved and her long, lingering illness, Joe doesn't want to wait around to meet another woman. Bob not only has a hard time with his dad's fervor but is also rather jealous of his head-first approach to getting back into the dating pool

Joe, unforgivingly set in his ways as only an 80 year Jew can be, splits his time between a retirement community in Great Neck, where it's 3 women for every man, and Palm Beach, Florida, where the odds are even more in his favor, but has a hard time at first. He can't really describe
to Bob what he wants in a woman, but he'll "know it when he sees it", which naturally drives Bob crazy. Eventually, Bob gets in the game, too, and suddenly, father and son have way more in common than might be comfortable to some. A quick read, it is sweet as candy and, at times, funny as hell.

The only downside is Bob's inability to get a grip on his relationship with his father. A number of times, he comes across as a petulant child, embarassed as a pissy teenager at his father eating with his mouth open or his choice in clothes. I kept waiting for Bob to grow up and realize how lucky he is to have this time and opportunity with his dad. Instead, he moans. A lot. Though I do admire the fact that he was honest portraying himself this way in the book, the repeated "woe is me" stuff slows the book down and could have been cut down some.

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