The Bro-Magnet - Lauren Baratz-Logsted (2011)

Johnny Smith is a typical nice guy who enjoys guy things and has a load of friends but can't seem to land that one special girl. When he finally meets a woman who he thinks could be the one, he is faced with hordes of advice from family and friends on the image he needs to present in order to win the girl. Based on the advice, he recreates himself into someone practically unrecognisable and wonders if it's just a matter of time before the charade blows up in his face or if he will get the girl. I really liked this story and felt an instant connection to Johnny. The entire story is told from his perspective and through his eyes, the reader is introduced to his family and friends and are given a birds-eye view into his entire life, beginning with his birth and the death of his mother, his awkwardness with the opposite sex, his childhood and adolescent crushes, his numerous stints as Best Man and his near instant friendship with almost every man he meets. In spite of his dismal failure at finding his soul mate, Johnny is a very likable and down-to-earth guy. The plot was very easy to get into and though I guessed early on how it would play out, I still enjoyed the ride. I especially enjoyed what Johnny had to go through to acquire a cat and his General Hospital marathons. My only issue with this story was with Johnny's aunt and her constant reminders to Johnny how he killed her sister. That really got old and tiresome and I could only imagine how annoying it would be to hear that and have it thrown in your face your whole life. It impressed me that Johnny took it in stride and didn't let the fact that he grew up without his mother make him feel inadequate or bitter. The Bro-Magnet was a very good story with likable characters, a plot that progresses smoothly, and dialogue that is entertaining and often laugh-out-loud funny. I highly recommend this story if you are looking for a fresh perspective from the opposite sex with an entertaining twist. (SH)

The Bro-Magnet, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, centres around a man who has loads of friends but not a girlfriend. The summary says: "Women have been known to lament, 'Always a bridesmaid, never a bride'. For Johnny Smith, the problem is, 'Always a best man, never a groom'. At age 33, housepainter Johnny has been best man eight times. The ultimate man's man, Johnny loves the Mets, the Jets, his weekly poker game, and the hula girl lamp that hangs over his basement pool table. Johnny has the instant affection of nearly every man he meets, but one thing he doesn't have is a woman to share his life with, and he wants that desperately. When Johnny meets District Attorney Helen Troy, he decides to renounce his bro-magnet ways in order to impress her. With the aid and advice of his friends and family, soon he's transforming his wardrobe, buying throw pillows, ditching the hula girl lamp, getting a cat and even changing his name to the more mature-sounding John. And through it all, he's pretending to have no interest in sports, which Helen claims to abhor. As things heat up with Helen, the questions arise: Will Johnny finally get the girl? And, if he's successful in that pursuit, who will he be now that he's no longer really himself?"

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