The Man of My Dreams.

Position:Book review

*** The Man of My Dreams By Curtis Sittenfeld Finding Mr. Right.

News of Julia Roberts's engagement to Kiefer Sutherland in 1991 causes great excitement for 14-year-old Hannah Gavener, perhaps because her life is not nearly quite so thrilling. In fact, it becomes downright depressing when her mother finally stands up for herself and whisks Hannah and her sister away from their controlling father. Five years later, Hannah, now an accommodating but socially and sexually naive freshman at Tufts University, still has father issues. Even after college, Hannah fantasizes about romance and endures one relationship after the other, all the while trying to reconcile the idea of "living happily ever after" with life's realities.

Random House. 288 pages. $22.95. ISBN: 1400064767

San Francisco Chronicle ****

"The exciting thing about Sittenfeld, aside from her remarkably lucid, incisive prose, is that she has the potential to carve out a new place, based largely on the strength of that prose, for every woman who wants to write (or read) good fiction about growing up and messing up--just the way the boys do--without being issued a stigma and a cutesy cover." MICHELLE ORANGE

Cleveland Plain Dealer ***1/2 "Following Hannah through college and out into the singles world, Sittenfeld fastidiously prepares slides of young love's infinite nuances, then examines them through the ruthless lens of her microscope.... Her eye for the tiny, obsessive detail ... goes a long way in the book's circumscribed landscape." TRICIA SPRINGSTUBB

Washington Post ***1/2

"Hannah's fear of intimacy and fixation on Henry feel real, but her resulting behavior--cold and frequently abrasive--makes her hard to like. Her outsider status gives her a beautifully described sensitivity to the gestures and inflections of herself and others, but she lacks a sense of humor when it comes to her own flaws and foibles." STEPHEN MCCAULEY

NY Times Book Review ***

"The milieu feels, in fact, a lot like a Peanuts strip: generic houses, trees, armchairs, all as a backdrop to the main...

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