The Man of My Dreams, Curtis Sittenfeld

‘…what they want most is beauty…Just instinctively, to look at and enjoy.’

The Man of My Dreams is the story of a young woman and her relationships and how others relationships affect us in more ways than we assume. We meet her as a fourteen year old entranced by celebrity weddings, who meets an older guy. Nothing happens but he will change her. She changes throughout the books, falls in love with different men, understands the meaning of friendship and the importance of a sister. She loves her parents always, but they will cause her to think about her childhood and how that affected her growth. She will think that her sister had it better because of the slight age difference but will realise that in fact everything else affected her more. We end with her near her late twenties. Moved on and different but at the same time unchanged.

While I would generally only recommend this book to women, the male characters often bring the book back into a uni-sex genre. With comments like, ‘Is expecting her beauty even their (men) fault?’, Sittenfeld makes us look at the image of women in society and with a character who explains that he falls for vulnerable women because he can ‘save’ them, she also makes us think about sexism and how we express that in this society.

This book makes you think the whole way through. About the relationships you have with everyone. What people will and won’t do. And about the relationships between not only men and women, but between the assumptions of the sexes and the actualities of the sexes. It’s not that Sittenfeld believes women and men should act a certain way, but more that acting any other way can cause disturbances. The protagonist’s different relationships show this.

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