Book Review - Someone Like You
Author: Elisabetta Celata
For someone who met the love of her life in her final year of high school and has pretty much been doing the happily-ever-after, I approached this book with both fascination and foreboding. Are men really like this? Is mine really like this? Is my sweet, sentimental Piscean just an impostor? And the burning question - is Laura Zigman, author of Someone Like You, happily paired, or is this novel a scathing diatribe on her encounters with the dark "Other-side" to the female of our species?
To answer that question based on the book, I'd have to give away the ending, and given that the suspense of the novel is successfully carried right through to the end, I'm afraid you'll have to read the novel yourself to find out! And a very enjoyable read it is. We can hope to have this question answered in an interview with Laura Zigman discussing the movie adaptation of the book, coming soon.
Zigman's writing is entertaining and clever. This is the sort of book that makes you laugh out loud on public transport without realising - so engrossing are the characters and their quirky behaviours.
By way of introduction, Zigman precedes each chapter of the novel with an excerpt from a scientific, psychological or philosophical text, usually relating to men's erratic dating behaviour. Zigman combines this with an exploration of New Cow Theory or The Coolidge Effect - the point in a relationship between a man and a woman (or a man and a man) whereby the man gets sick of his current partner (the old cow) and starts searching for a new partner (the new cow) with extremely comic results.
In Someone Like You we encounter Jane, trying desperately to navigate the male of our species, Ray, presented as the typical, male New Yorker, Joan, Jane's best friend and adviser, and Eddie, Jane's house mate and research project.
Jane has spent her entire life to date trying to work men out by the usual quasi-scientific method. That is, trial and error. And until now she has never been able to establish a successful Subject...um...Man. Until now. Until Ray.
With Ray Jane rides the ever-heightening waves of emotional bliss and intrigue, which accompany the roller-coaster office romance. But the clues are already there, for Jane and us readers. They've been there all along - in history, in science, in philosophy, in literature. In fact, Laura Zigman puts them right there under our very noses at the start of every chapter - quotes about the nature of man, the mating rituals of both animal and man kind, scientific evidence to explain why men behave the way they do both before and after they have committed to a relationship.
What Jane discovers, as she finds Ray's behaviour increasingly aping her scientific research, makes for a highly amusing adventure for the reader, and an original take on the courtship rituals we embark on when we enter into the dating game.
What will happen to Ray and Jane? And what will Joan say about it all?- Elisabetta CelataBuy it now at