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The Pleasure of My Company    by Steve Martin order for
Pleasure of My Company
by Steve Martin
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

In The Pleasure of My Company, Steve Martin places the reader inside the mind of Daniel Pecan Cambridge to share the terrors that Daniel experiences through his numerous neuroses. Daniel lives an extremely restricted life, in which he protects himself by sticking close to his Santa Monica apartment. His world is a mass of swirling neuroses that force him to follow strict patterns in order to avoid panic. It's a lonely life, but one he lacks the power to change. Daniel cannot step over curbs and must circumvent whole blocks, in order to shop at the neighborhood Rite Aid store. His light bulbs' wattage, when lit, must add up to 1125 if he is to be calm. His fantasies about women bolster his ego. He is sure that they want him, though they don't know he feels the way he does.

Steve Martin has written a remarkably tender book about a gentle man who suffers from an illness he cannot control. The reader is given entry to Daniel's mind, to hear his own story as he tells it. To see a neurosis from the inside is rare. Martin's rendering of Daniel's private hell is exquisitely told without a plea for sympathy. This is achieved by simply laying out Daniel's life as it is with an empathy that transcends fiction. The novel gives an accounting of this man's fears, his small pleasures such as ironing a pillow flat his deep emotions, his continual analysis of his own actions, his desire to live a normal life. Daniel knows that the rest of the world does not live as he does. He also knows he needs impetus to change. His story is beautifully told by an author with a rare talent.

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