As Long As She Needs Meby Nicholas Weinstock
For ten long years, Oscar Campbell has done everything from picking up his boss's drycleaning to FedExing her tropical fish. His job as personal assistant to a legendary and temperamental publisher in New York City has given him more headaches than leg-ups. Yet none of Oscar's experiences has prepared him for his greatest challenge: planning his
For ten long years, Oscar Campbell has done everything from picking up his boss's drycleaning to FedExing her tropical fish. His job as personal assistant to a legendary and temperamental publisher in New York City has given him more headaches than leg-ups. Yet none of Oscar's experiences has prepared him for his greatest challenge: planning his boss's wedding.
Juggling his unappreciated duties as a publishing assistant with those of a pro bono wedding planner, Oscar labors to pull together the event of the year without falling apart in the process. Help arrives in the form of popular wedding columnist Lauren LaRose, with whom Oscar strikes a bargain: his editorial expertise for her nuptial advice. As the two work together to manufacture the romances of others, they will stumble into one of their own.
Hilarious and wise, literate and charming, As Long As She Needs Me is a sparkling fable of love and luck in Manhattan.
Read an Excerpt
Chapter One The Ring
To be a person's personal assistant is to be, of course, her boss. While she trumpeted the orders and wallowed in the recognition, it was he who quietly decided her weekday schedule and predetermined her weekends; who owned all her secrets, orchestrated her life. She was the Dawn of Dawn Books, commander of a quavering staff of dozens of adults; but without his scurrying support and whispered translations she was nothing. She was a cracked figurehead, an empress without clothes, to be mended and swaddled daily, as we do for the least and most powerful of our species. As he did particularly well.
He dodged a herd of tourists outside the Empire State Building and wove a path through the summer traffic. It had been months since he'd wandered the city beneath its bright blue rectangles of daylight, as it was dim at the hour he got to the office, black by the time he left. He hopped over the curb and yanked at his tie, hunching lower and closer to the bobbing heads of pedestrians. Looking harder around their feet. With luck it would still be there, undiscovered on the simmering pavement by any hunter or gatherer other than him. He would find it before she got out of her meeting. He would be back at his desk in time to photocopy her AmEx bill and chronologically order her messages, to call her limo service and confirm that there would be none of the smiley driver chitchat of last time. He checked his watch. He had thirty-four minutes. A tall order, he thought, and mustered a smile.
She would have eaten at the customary five-star landmark, as it was a Thursday lunch, walkable weather. He knewher schedule and preferences better than he knew his own. At the moment he could barely remember his own. Had he ever slept late? Gone to plays? Worn a hat? An entire imagined life sparkled before him -- a mirage of four-course brunches and late-night swing dancing, of lounging about in extra-large pajamas -- before the vision winked shut. He reached the darkened entrance of Le Pouvoir, swam through the air-conditioning and past the bronze columns and lemon-draped tables to her usual corner. But it wasn't there. He dropped to a knee, shoved a chair. Nothing. After double-checking with the busboys and stooping to question the maître d', he hurried back outside and downtown toward the office, eyes on the sunny blur of the sidewalk. Stomach in knots. She would have walked in the shade, it occurred to him, and he loped across the street.
And there it was, by the foot of the mailbox. Hundreds of thousands of dollars recovered. But that was a bottle cap. A circle of spit on the manhole cover. A plastic earring in the green-rimmed puddle by the curb. He dabbed his shirt against his chest and glanced again at his watch. He had been away from his desk for thirty-eight minutes. Forty-six by the time he had almost picked up a condom, inspected and tossed a Canadian coin. Fourteen, now thirteen, before she'd be out of her paperback meeting and bawling his name. Ten years of this; but that sort of counting was no help. This was fun. That was more like it. A field trip. A scavenger hunt. Lucky me, he reconsidered. He mouthed the words down Madison Avenue. Lucky me, lucky me.
At first he'd hated the job. Fresh out of college, tender to the touch of injustice, he used to name and keep track of her offenses as if compiling a case to impeach. Nailfilegate. The Cuban Memoir Crisis. Unnamable was the time she'd had him FedEx her tropical fish, unforgettable the day she took up fencing. His official duty was to keep track of her statistics and deadlines, to keep her authors and employees and neuroses at bay; yet his chores went well beyond that. Between runs to her dry cleaner and re-reorganizations of her files, he pored through all her submissions and edited every one of her books. In tense meetings with top executives she crushed budget proposals and title ideas with sneering condescension; but thought e-mail was a gender until he had explained it, and tried to speak aloud to an ATM machine before he hushed her and showed her how to work it. Dawn needed him -- desperately, confidentially -- and it was this need that had kept him tied to his post all these years. Who else got the chance to be needed like that? Who else had shopped for her deodorant, met her ophthalmologist, seen her cry? Contrary to company-wide opinion, he was not enslaved by her famous outbursts but rather moved by them, and therefore unmoved. He had become dependent on her reliance on him. Having spent so long at her side, under her thumb, he couldn't budge.
He had gone into book publishing for the usual reason, the silliest of reasons: for books. As a college English major -- scanner of verse, skimmer of classics-- he had vowed to aid in the creation of works of art while his fellow graduates manufactured meaningless dividends and portfolios. Underpaid by the company and overwhelmed by the mystique, he had set out to toil in the diamond mine of literature: to unearth treasures and hand them over, to limp home empty-handed but lit and warmed by their glow. He was flagging by the end of the first year, dead broke by the start of the third. The mine was airless and wracked by explosions as its workers scrabbled to find something pure.
Yet it no longer pained him, he thought as he walked. He had grown stronger by now, or else weaker; numb to the paper cuts at his dignity, the stapled holes in his self-esteem. Plus the job kept him busy. Single people needed to keep busy.
Meet the Author
Nicholas Weinstock is the author of The Secret Love of Sons and the novel As Long As She Needs Me. His writing has been featured on National Public Radio and in publications including the New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Vogue, Nerve, Ladies' Home Journal, and Poets & Writers. He is a member of the council of the Authors Guild, and he works as vice president of comedy development for 20th Century Fox Television and lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the writer Amanda Beesley, and their three children.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Got this from the library. It is told mainly from the point of view of a man who is the personal assistant to a high powered book editor, the premise being he does all the work, makes all the decisions, gets treated like crap, but doesn't quit "As Long As She Needs Me" even though there is no love lost between him and his seemingly silly, shallow boss. There is a romance with another, nicer lady. There is a revenge of sorts. There is a lot of wedding plan descriptions. There is a twist ending. Not a bad beach read if you do not think too hard about it.
This is chick lit from a cool guy's point of view. Witty and slyly sweet, engrossing and makes one want more.....then what.
This book is a delight to read. Weinstock has crafted an engaging story, populated with vivid characters, and punctuated with clever insights into human nature reminiscent of TV's Sex and the City at its best. This book is a must read for those of us who have planned a wedding, been as assistant, or worked in publishing. Although I have never set foot in a publishing house, I would love to know who his characters are based on.
As I work in book publishing I was able to get an advance copy of this novel and I have to tell you that it's unbelievably true and absolutely hilarious and even moving at times. Part love story, part satire of the publishing and wedding industries, it's perfectly written. It's also generating a lot of gossip, in my circles, about who the author modelled his characters on. If you like a good romantic comedy with some intelligence for a change then this is your book.