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The Not-so-Perfect Man    by Valerie Frankel order for
Not-so-Perfect Man
by Valerie Frankel
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

According to her sister Ilene, thirty-five year old Frieda has grieved over her husband's death long enough. It's been over a year, and Ilene believes that single mom Frieda doesn't have any time to waste in finding another husband. Ilene is happily married to Peter, and she wants nothing more than for Frieda to experience the same bliss. All is not as perfect in Ilene's marriage as she likes to portray. Peter has put on some weight over the past few years, and Ilene doesn't find him attractive anymore. She constantly pushes him to work on weight loss 'for his health.'

The third (and youngest) sister in this mix is Betty, who pushes men away with rudeness. She runs interference between her two older sisters, often being the voice of reason and keeper of secrets. Ilene wants to fix Frieda up with the perfect man - handsome, intelligent, great job, loves kids. Frieda likes him, but the passion just isn't there. And then there's Sam, a stage actor whom Frieda meets in her frame shop. The chemistry ignites from the first moment. But Sam travels a great deal, has no money, and doesn't know how to relate to Frieda's son. Is anything lasting likely between Frieda and the 'not-so-perfect' Sam? Or does she need to settle for stability instead?

This is a fun new offering in the chick lit genre. The characters are endearing. Although there are aspects of each sister that you will love to hate, there are also those that you will just love. Ilene, Frieda, and Betty are true-to-life, and far from perfect themselves. The descriptions of Frieda's dates are laugh-out-loud funny and probably a fair representation of the types of single men available to a thirty-five year old woman. I admired the relationship between the sisters and their desire to help each other, even though their help is not always beneficial.

The Not-so-Perfect Man is an enjoyable afternoon's read. It's light but also poignant as the characters learn about themselves through the course of the book. Romance lovers will be thrilled with Valerie Frankel's latest offering, complete with giggles, misunderstandings, and a supremely happy ending.

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