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Emily's Reasons Why Not: A Novel

Emily's Reasons Why Not: A Novel

4.0 6
by Carrie Gerlach

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Though her (biological) clock is furiously ticking away, entertainment publicity pro extraordinaire Emily Sanders didn't hear the starting bell. Hitting thirty and watching her best friends settle down, she too wants to have the life that once upon a time ... wished upon a star ... she dreamed she'd have: the house, the kids, the perfect man. But in L.A., where


Though her (biological) clock is furiously ticking away, entertainment publicity pro extraordinaire Emily Sanders didn't hear the starting bell. Hitting thirty and watching her best friends settle down, she too wants to have the life that once upon a time ... wished upon a star ... she dreamed she'd have: the house, the kids, the perfect man. But in L.A., where image is everything, "where every beauty pageant winner is an eight in a sea of nines all wishing they were Julia Roberts," finding true love isn't easy. Especially when boyfriend material includes a beautiful young surfer god, an aging music executive, the boss's boss's boss, and a baseball player with two cell phones (one of which Emily doesn't have the number to).

With her confidence heading due south like everything else on her body, Emily turns to a smart, sharp-eyed psychotherapist who helps her get past the "flutter, flutter," her old time-tested method for picking the wrong guy. Soon she finds herself able to spot "the reasons," the previously invisible flags of a destined-to-fail relationship, and narrow her focus to stop looking for Mr. Right and learn how to start looking out for Mr. Wrong.

Emily's Reasons Why Not is for everyone who has ever wasted her time chasing down the wrong guy for the right reasons, wondering "why" and "when is it going to happen for me?" With the edge of an insider, but the heart of a dreamer, the disarming and unflappable Emily meshes her views on the entertainment industry she works in, the men she's dated, the therapy sessions she mulled over, and "the one" she knows is out there for every woman ... including herself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A 30-year-old publicist tired of "hollow independence" desperately seeks a husband in the cutthroat, image-conscious world of Hollywood stardom's fringe. Gerlach's energetic but familiar debut stars lovelorn Emily Sanders, who's likable enough but lacks the charisma and depth to help her story stand out in a sea of books targeting other "SSWs" ("single, successful women"). Emily begins therapy with Dr. Deperno (she has to love herself before she can find a man to love her), but best girlfriends Reilly and Grace and loving dog Sam provide more support as Dr. D pushes her to write top-10 lists for why her exes have been the wrong men. First-timer Gerlach offers some incisive passages about Hollywood's lower rungs, but she also uses wardrobes and jobs as shorthand for personality, which make her characters read like caricatures. Bad boy number one, for instance, is David Jenkins, the powerful president of Emily's company; he has a Hugo Boss suit, a Mercedes and strong arms, and not surprisingly, he turns out to be a career-driven womanizer. Emily's conservative guidelines for female behavior hearken back to the Rules and include platitudes like "no sex equals calls." Gerlach has a handle on the "hack-n-flack" relationship that fuels celebrity culture, but this book, while offering intermittent guilty pleasures, brings little that's fresh to the single-girl genre. Agent, Alan Nevins at the Firm. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Really, what could be better than a booklength complaint?Gerlach is a newcomer, and she shows it here as she treats us to the fascinating inner monologue of one Emily Sanders. An LA girl on the downslope of her mid-20s, Emily works in entertainment publicity, natch (as that's apparently what every West Coast girl does, if we can believe our novels these days-one day, there'll be a book about a twentysomething tax attorney with romantic problems), and spends her time between relationships whining to her therapist, Dr. D., about men. There's also the standard-issue gay coworker on hand to provide bons mots, and two best friends who're communicated with only when Emily's current doomed relationship is on the wane and she needs support. Dr. D. wants Emily to write ten reasons why each of her relationships went bad, and these gems ("If you have to hide your relationship, it isn't worth hiding," "Beware of the love bug on vacation") are sprinkled throughout. As for plot, it's measured out in men. First, there's Emily's boss, David, whom she falls head over heels for despite everyone's warnings that he's just using her-then she collapses in tears when she finds out he was using her. Then there's the perfect-seeming guy Emily meets on vacation who's got a nightmare of a family, and the professional baseball player she's convinced is having an affair on her. As frothy and silly as all of these goings-on are supposed to be, Gerlach's amateurish prose provides no reason to keep plugging away at the laundry list of sad failures disguised as quirky, romantic fun. Emily's headache-inducing rants-strewn with exclamation marks and ALL CAPS-and utter lack of perspective make following her seem less likereading a novel than being trapped in a corner by a garrulous drunk who's just been dumped. Therapy itself would be more interesting. Agent: Alan Nevins/The Firm
Lexington Herald-Leader
“[EMILY’S REASONS WHY NOT] is both hilarious and thought-provoking.”
Nashville Tennessean
“Conversational and witty prose.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“...distinguished by snap-crackle wit...one heck of a chuckle ride.”
Us Weekly
US Weekly Hot Book Pick

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Read an Excerpt

Emily's Reasons Why Not
A Novel

Chapter One

The Coach’s Office

I wouldn't be here if I weren't alone. I haven't lost touch with reality and I don't hear voices. I'm just having trouble concentrating on anything except the chiming of my ovaries. They're a ticking clock, telling me the game is almost over. Time is running out. Ten ... nine ... eight ...

Two men and a baseball player ago I was confident. Now I am feeling the pressure. I may be behind, but I'm not ready to settle for some random anyone, not ready for a life of loveless, overwhelming compromise. What I need is some good advice, the kind you don't take chances on with friends or family. If they had the answer I would have heard it already.

I am a professional woman. I need pro counsel. Well, need seems strong. I don't need anyone. I am part of the generation who got this far. But now, as if stripped of all defense and pretense, I find no comfort in this hollow independence. And these chiming ovaries are so loud that I can't ignore them anymore. I'm terrified that someday soon the chiming will STOP! The buzzer will sound. The players will leave the field. And I will be forced to watch from the sidelines.

I'll miss the chiming that drove me nuts and be forevermore reminded by the silence that I missed the life I once upon a time ... wished upon a star ... I'd have. I will be neverendingly tortured by the longings of a little girl inside who doesn't understand why taxes, mortgages, and car payments won.

And that's why I'm here, in this coach's office, waiting for a man I've never met. I look from the framed Doctorate of Psychology across from me to the dog-eared House & Garden on the table and what do I see? A bridal magazine. I hear the blood rushing in my ears like the roar of the crowd. Why is a bridal magazine out here in full view? To torture me? Some twisted sense of irony? A warped form of inspiration? Ugh! This isn't a party planning office. What the hell?

Oh, jeez. I'm picking it up. I can't help it. Like a binge masochist, I am out of control, operating on pure chemical instinct here. Who is doing this? I scream from the cheap seats of my brain at the obviousness of this bad call. I'm flipping the pages. I'm lost in the perfection of the platinum wrapped diamond ring sparkling at me on the page, the fairy tale incarnate. I am sliding my finger next to it. Mustering courage, I flip the page, only to sigh at the bride and groom kissing on a tropical beach. She looks so ... so ...

I hold the magazine closer, blinking rapidly ... so much like me. Holy shit! What the hell am I doing in the magazine? I smile back at myself, a smile of the past, a firm and busty twenty-one-year-old fantasy version of me. I shake my head and look again at the photo, now of a perfect model type.

I guess I need therapy worse than I thought. I toss the magazine back on the table and quickly cover it up again. Am I kidding myself? Has the clock already expired? Is the game over and I'm the last to know?

I need a distraction. Something! A gentler, kinder Emily picks up the Los Angeles Times. I thumb through the pages and stop on the Calendar section, finding the horoscope. Libra: If today is your birthday, you are passionate, loving, and kind.Wear bright colors.

I pick at a loose piece of fuzz on my gray cashmere sweater. Your day will be filled with unexpected fortune, some good and some bad. Don't tell intimate secrets to strangers.

Well, that would be great, except that I am waiting in the lobby to see a damned therapist. How am I not supposed to tell him my intimate secrets? That's why I'm here. Or ...

Is this a sign,my cue to flee? It is. Isn't it? My pulse quickens. I grab my bag, take two steps toward the door, and hear the knob turning behind me.

I quickly backtrack, sit, and act natural as the inner door swings open and an attractive man in his early forties looks down at me. "Emily Sanders?" he says with a voice that sounds like warm T-shirt sheets, fresh from the dryer. I nod. "I'm Dr. Deperno. Come on in."

I note the hardback books filling the shelves, the framed Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte on the wall above his large mahogany desk in the corner. No personal photos of framed family outings. He waits for me to sit on the plush burgundy sofa before he sinks into a black leather chair with his legs crossed, yellow pad resting on his lap.

I force a smile. He smiles back without saying a word. I smile again, picking the pale pink polish off of my newly manicured nails. The silence is consumed by a car alarm going off in the distance. I laugh nervously and wonder, When was the last time I did that? I can't remember laughing lately. As a little girl I laughed all the time. Now, maybe, on my best day, three times, and usually just a chuckle at a joke e-mail sent from a friend.

"Tell me about yourself." He pulls his glasses off his head and puts them on. I'm surprised I didn't notice those. They're small with tortoiseshell frames that complement his olive skin. I can tell that somewhere in his background a grandfather was Portuguese, Italian, or Greek.

"Like what? I mean, where should I start? Childhood? Adolescence? My twenties? What do you want to know?"

"Wherever you want is fine."

Emily's Reasons Why Not
A Novel
. Copyright © by Carrie Gerlach. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Carrie Gerlach is an entertainment, sports, and corporate media strategist who heads up her own company, Anachel Communications, Inc. She splits her time between Manhattan Beach, California, and Nashville, Tennessee, where her husband is a coach with the Tennessee Titans. She is the author of several screenplays, and is currently at work on her second novel.

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4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a 65-year-old retired physicist and a friend of mine recommended this book. I don't think I have ever laughed as much. It is really funny.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book made me laugh out loud. I loved it!! It all boils down to learning to love yourself first. I am going to send this to my daughter in hopes that she will learn something from it. If you want a good laugh, read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I am making all of my friends read it!!!
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harstan More than 1 year ago
In Los Angeles, nearing thirty with her bio clock ticking and gravity pulling at her body, Hollywood publicity guru Emily Sanders wonders why all her friends seem to have spouses, children, and the suburbs while she has not had a decent date lately. She analyzes with her psychologist ¿coach¿ Dr. D. how come she has failed to find Mr. Right, but has a lifetime of Mr. Wrongs. Dr. D suggests she draw up a top ten reasons of why these are Mr. Wrongs. --- Emily begins evaluating the attributes of the hunks she dated to see what trait made them terrible spousal material. She begins to see a pattern of hooking up with womanizing rats starting with her boss and continuing with others including the baseball player. As she begins to realize she exists in the ooze beneath the lowest rung of the Hollywood food chain, with the help of her loving canine Sam and a couple of true friends, Emily begins to look inside to learn why she punishes herself with these losers because she now knows that to find the man who will love her she must first learn to love herself. --- EMILY¿S REASONS WHY NOT is at times an amusing chick lit tale though the heroine is no Letterman or for that matter even a Jones and her whine can turn into a headache. The story line focuses on Emily¿s analysis of her failed relationships and what she really expected from them. Die-hard genre readers will appreciate her lament as Emily provides solid reasons why fans should read her bemoaning bio on the men in her life; others take a pass.--- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
1. Novice prose 2. Incredibly one-dimensional characters and plot 3. Superficial but not in a 'juicy' way, just plain shallow 4. A shameless (an inferior) knock-off of Bridget Jones' Diary; could you be any less original? 5. Proof that being a good PR person doesn't necessarily translate to being a good fiction-writer (nice try though) 6. Contrived; full of cliches worthy of a 22-year old creative writing student not a 35+ year-old professional 7. Male stereotyping of the simplest variety (the jock, the surfer, the yuppie, etc.) Yawn... 8. A shameless plug for her PR clients (hey, why not milk it in every way I can?) 9. Emily is just as vapid on the last page of the book as on the first page. I'd dump her too. 10. Her 'Acknowledgements' section at the end are painful to read. Overtly self-promotional and self-congratulatory, with sentences like '...is testament to the woman I am...'. Wow, you'd think Ms. Gerlach had won a Pulitzer. Can you say self-important?
Guest More than 1 year ago
With a half a dozen years of marriage under my belt, I still wonder why I had to kiss so many frogs to get to my Prince Charming. Ms. Gerlach's book brought it all back to me in a laugh-out-loud walk down the dating memory lane, while reminding me that happy endings await us all. Persevere, Emily ... and anyone else who may still be searching -- he's out there somewhere!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a 20 something single woman myself I think this book is right on. I honestly felt like I could have written this book as it is very close to real life relationships. I felt I really related to Emily and understood the other character behaviors. One of the best relationship books I've read.