Mrs Mo Reivews: The Men I Didn't Marry by Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger

What do you do after your husband of 20 years announces that he’s leaving you for some woman who can pass for your own daughter? Step 1: Eat a package of Oreos and watch soap operas. Step 2: Try out your new independence with fine dining with your imaginary friend. Step 3: Track down all the men that you didn’t marry for a spontaneous adventure and some self re-discovery. That’s what Hallie does in the fabulous and funny novel The Men I Didn’t Marry by Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger.

Taking a cue from High Fidelity with the sexiness and style of Sex and the City, Hallie’s story is unfortunate at first but exciting and very sexy. When her husband has a mid-life crisis 10 years early and suddenly turns into a more shallow version of a playboy college frat boy, Hallie takes a minute to wallow, but with the support from her man-crazy best friend Bellini and kids Adam and Emily (who are having paralleled love experiences in college), Hallie rediscovers her ability to drive men crazy and the power within herself to get what she really wants out of life.

As Hallie reconnects with the 3 men she dated before marrying her husband Bill, you learn a little about her life and her personality. There was Eric, the college boyfriend who is now a Forbes Top-500 banker; Barry, the deep and sensitive fling from a backpacking through Europe trip; Kevin, the bad-boy in high school turned underwater photographer in the Virgin Gorda with whom Hallie explores more than just the ocean. Lastly there is Dick, who Hallie has tried to forget for 20 years because of one devastating night that altered her family forever.

Kaplan and Schurnberger have a true gift of using humor (I was seriously laughing out loud) and sexy men to tell a sweet coming-of-age story(even though our heroine is in her 40s). Will Hallie get back together with her husband? Will she start a new life with one of her exes? Does she keep her job (re: Keving and the Virgin Gorda)?

One thing is for sure: I kept reading this book when I should have been working. And I thought about the men I didn’t marry while my husband was laying next to me (though my story would be titled "The Kissing Diaries"). And even though I’m about 10 years younger than Hallie, in both life and career, I took away some inspiration from her own growth.

The Men I Didn’t Marry is a great read any time of year, but a definite MUST for your 2009 Summer Reading List.

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