A series of shortish essays about love and life on the US West Coast, Such a Nice Guy is an entertaining and witty collection of pieces that have that hard-to-fake feeling of effortlessly capturing a certain type of life and a certain type of experience. As someone who has never experienced the drinking and dating scene in that part of the world, I can say that this book nevertheless created a well-realised and very believable world, and then filled that world with great stories and memorable characters.
Some of the stories might seem a little embellished and exaggerated, but that shouldn’t stand in the way of a good read. Such a Nice Guy covers an extremely wide range of experiences and situations, but never loses sight of the need to entertain the reader. That’s not to say that there aren’t moments of pathos and empathy, just that these are skillfully woven into the book in a way that makes them subtle rather than forced.
This was one of those rare books that creates such a vivid world, I was actually sorry to leave it behind when I finished. Fortunately there seem to be a few sequels out there. Overall, this is an extremely funny and memorable book. For those who have lived this kind of life, there will be plenty of moments of wry recognition; for those for whom this kind of life is alien, Such a Nice Guy should go some way towards explaining the appeal.
Star rating for Such a Nice Guy: 4.5 stars.
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