The Girlfriend Curse: A Novel

The Girlfriend Curse: A Novel

by Valerie Frankel


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594741305
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2015
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 782,356
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Valerie Frankel has written over thirty books, including three New York Times bestsellers. Her articles have appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine; Parenting; Self; Glamour; Allure; and the New York Times, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Read an Excerpt

The Girlfriend Curse

Chapter One

Peg Silver, thirty-two, could make a man come, but she couldn't make him stay. She'd just spent two hours bemoaning this problem to her friend Nina at dinner, parsing to the syllable what she'd like to say to her most recent exboyfriend, if such an unlikely opportunity presented itself.

The night's chosen scenario: Bumping Into Each Other by Chance. Peg would be in a glorious gown, on her way to the Oscars, a nominee for Best Set Design in a Major Motion Picture. As she stepped out of her limousine onto the red carpet, she'd spot Paul in the crowd, looking like he'd just been attacked by dogs. He'd congratulate her, beg her to take him back. She'd be gracious. Briefly pitying. But she had to rush, since her date, Johnny Depp, was waiting, and he was a very possessive man. Besides which, having just won the lottery ("The same day I got the nomination!"), she was flying to the Bahamas for a year as soon as the awards ceremony was over.

Peg smiled to herself as she unlocked her apartment door. She knew, rationally, that spending hours refining tone and nuance in a conversation that would never take place was a waste of time. But, she thought, a girl can dream, can't she? Peg dropped her purse on her bed. The phone rang. She grabbed the receiver.



She recognized his voice instantly. It was Paul. He'd Called Out of the Blue. Panicking, Peg clicked the off button, giving herself three seconds to scramble for a good opening line before he called back. Something breezy. Casual. All she could come up with was, "You bastard, you ruined my life."

The first time in three months she'd mindlessly answered the phone, the one time the ring hadn't unleashed the flood of Pavlovian pretraumatic stress syndrome symptoms -- tight chest, shaky hands, constricted breathing, skin flush to a capillary-popping red. She felt eerily calm, actually, now that the wait was over. The phone rang again. She took a deep breath.

"Hello?" she said, exhaling sexily.

"Peg, it's Paul. Something's wrong with your phone. I got cut off. And you sound nasal."

"Paul! What a surprise. How long has it been? A month?" she asked.

"Over three, actually," he said.

"That long?" she asked, as if marveling at the flight of time.

The morning of the breakup, he'd promised to call her that night. She never called him, not once, which was a show of strength that would fill her with dignity until the day she died. She had buckled a few times, sending him artfully terse and transparently neutral Just Checking In emails. Paul would respond a day later, a week later, with a few sentences -- no caps or punctuation -- if at all. Lazy, lying bastard. Peg should tell him to go fuck himself. She should make herself proud.

Paul said, "I need to see you. Tonight."

It was eight on a Thursday in April, unseasonably hot for springtime in New York City. "Where's the fire?" she asked, having a pretty good idea where.

"I've been thinking about you constantly," he said. "I have things to say, face-to-face. I can't go another night without seeing you."

This was where she was supposed to say, "Johnny Depp is a very possessive man." Instead, she said, "Can't."

"You have plans?"


"Early day tomorrow?"


"Making a show of strength that will fill you with dignity until the day you die?" he asked. He paused, and then said shortly, "I hope you and your dignity will be very happy together. I'll let you go ... "

That was it? No more pleading, spilling blood while screaming her name and tearing his shirt? She said, "Giving up so easy? You've got a lot to learn about groveling."

He said, "Please see me. I'm begging. I'm supplicating -- wait, I need to find the thesaurus."

"Meet me at Chez Chas in twenty minutes," she said. "And don't be late." She'd waited long enough for him already.

Chez Chas was a bistro in the corner storefront of Peg's building on Grand Street in Soho. The restaurant had six tables and a tiny bar. Once featured in New York magazine as the smallest three-star restaurant in Manhattan, Chez Chas was, if not an A-list destination, a B+. Peg had never eaten there. They didn't take reservations, and it was impossible to get a table before five o'clock. But the bar -- cramped, poorly stocked -- usually had a vacancy. Peg had spent many cocktail hours at that bar, with a friend or a Chuck Palahniuk novel. Fight Club was a guaranteed male magnet; she met the boyfriend before Paul while reading it.

With a glance in her mirror -- she hated her new bangs -- Peg ran downstairs to the bistro. She wanted to get one drink in her before Paul showed up. Steady the nerves. The bar was in the rear of the bistro. She had to squeeze between tables, apologizing to diners as she jostled their chairs. She sat on a vacant stool, draping her jean jacket on the one to her left. The bartender was new; the bartender was always new. This month's model was, most definitely, a model. Lean and young, he had a chiseled chin, speckled with stubble, and perfectly chunky bangs.

Peg said to him, "How do you get your bangs to behave? Hours of private training? Is there a School for Bangs I should know about?"

The bartender nodded, as if he didn't speak English. "What can I get you?" he asked. No accent. Nor sense of humor.

Peg had wine at dinner. "Whiskey sour," she said.

"Out of sour mix."

"White Russian."

"Out of milk."

"Vodka martini?"

"Out of olives."

"I'll take it."

He said, "As you wish."

Peg found that oddly comforting. Receiving her cocktail, she checked her watch. Five minutes more. She sipped and examined the couples at dinner. The tables were set up for two ...

The Girlfriend Curse. Copyright © by Valerie Frankel. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Girlfriend Curse 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Peg Silver is tired of finding men, getting them interested in marriage, and having them wed someone else as her last boyfriend Paul Tester, her seventh failure in less than a decade, just did. She concludes that she needs a full body lifestyle makeover, starting with a change of scenery as she is sick of someone else gaining the fruits of her labors. Peg decides it is time to leave the asphalt jungle of New York where she has resided for her entire thirty two years of living and rusticate elsewhere, just not the burbs because that would be too much of a fall. --- During the grueling seven hour train trek to White River Junction, Vermont, Peg receives an accidental poke in the eye when she tried to be Good Samaritan and then meets womanizing Ray Quick who climbed on board in Hartford. She decides to delay her search for an organic male to join him at the Inward Bound retreat In Manshire, Vermont where he is going to attend a seminar on curing neurotic dating patterns. At the retreat, Peg finds herself still attracted to Ray, but also pulled towards the facilitator Linus Bester. --- THE GIRLFRIEND CURSE is a strong chick lit tale that focuses deeply on relationships mostly through Peg¿s troubles paraphrasing her thoughts that she can make men come, but not stay. The deep cast turns the tale into a powerful insightful look at why relationships work or fail. Peg is gold as the center of the novel while her two male competitors bring out the best and worst in her. Relationship drama readers will receive immense pleasure from this perceptive contemporary fiction novel.--- Harriet Klausner
goldnyght on LibraryThing 6 days ago
This is a pretty good light read that I'd recommend for a day by the pool. I'm sure some people don't read as fast as I do, but it's really just not that big of a book.
hockeycrew on LibraryThing 3 months ago
A much better work by Valerie Frankel. Light, fun, funny, a New York girl moves to Vermont after realising that all her ex-boyfriends have gotten married shortly after their breakup. She enters a relationship help clinic with the goal of snagging a hot man there. Instead, she realises that she does need the help. It's very insightful in things people need to change in order to be happy with their relationship. And it's also a very fun read.
Lindsie More than 1 year ago
This is by far my favorite book by Valerie Frankel thus far! I found the book to be different than others; although it did take me back to that movie with Dane Cook in it, but the character development was exceptional, giving readers a chance to root for the characters! I loved Peg- and of course Linus. What a cute chick lit book. A+++++ for Frankel- Ill be picking up more books by this author!
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N Williams More than 1 year ago
I stayed up all night to finish reading this book. There are points where you will laugh out LOUD. This book is well written and hilarious. This is my first time reading this writer and I am so glad I chose her. The character and story are well developed. What a funny journey of self discovery. A fun read.
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Booktalk143 More than 1 year ago
Since this is the second book by Valerie Frankel that I've read and writing about, I'll be skipping that part about what I thought of the author and go on right ahead about what I think of the story - which I hope you, dear readers won't mind. This is yet another product of Valerie's romantic comedies at work. It is so engaging and funny I almost spent half a day reading this novel instead of working - you can put the blame on two of my co-workers who gave me the book for Christmas and without a doubt made Christmas 2007 one of the best in my life so far. To you both (and you know who you are), it was truly unexpected on my part and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Now back to the story of Peg Silver and her so-called "girlfriend curse." To tell you the truth, I haven't met anyone who has such a relationship pattern and I myself haven't been in that situation - which I hope it won't happen in my near future - yet. The title itself is so catchy along with the cover art and summary at the back that one couldn't help but wonder so much about it. My other officemate thought it was a book about witchcraft because of the word "curse" but I shook my head and said, "I don't think so." True enough the book didn't contain anything about witchcraft at all. They should be looking at "Hex and the Single Girl" if that is what they're after. As always, I don't expect much when reading a new novel because I'd rather be taken by surprise. And surprisingly, The Girlfriend Curse is such an eye-opener in the sense that - and I do agree with what Peg did - in order to fix a problem, you should first search within yourself if you have done anything wrong to deserve your current situation; organize your priorities or your life, change in yourself what you think is a negative trait or perspective and learn to love your body and yourself. A person should only change for the better and not for worse. Second, you should look back - not literally of course, but rather take a closer look at what happened to you in the past that resulted in the situation you are now in. When you visit your past, take note of the people you surround yourself with, their attitude and behavior towards you, your attitude and behavior towards them, the decisions you've made, the result of those decisions, and how did everything affect everyone in your circle. After that, try to connect everything while keeping this in mind: for every cause there is an effect. You will see a pattern somewhere there just like what Peg discovered - well, actually, it was Linus who sat her down and told her face to face what happened exactly and why all her relationships seem to end - and ultimately affect the guys she dated - in the same way. After all that has been said and done, and you think that the only way to solve your dilemma is a drastic change in lifestyle and all that, just be sure that you are bold and strong enough to actually go through and live with it; financially, emotionally, and spiritually stable enough to pursue such drastic measures, and that you tie up all lose ends before starting out your new life somewhere. It will certainly be no fun at all if you just packed up and go riding towards the sunset and leave a huge mess behind because somehow that huge mess you dumped on those who were left behind will follow you, and anywhere you go, it will find you, no matter how far or how long you've traveled. Like people, situations also need closure.
Miss_Wowie More than 1 year ago
What to say about this book...I was really expecting a romance with some raunch. What I found was me pouring over with a tummy ache from all the laughing. Peg is witty, sarcastic, intelligent, and sexy in looks and personality. This book was very entertaining. I'm one to read for the couple but this book made me think of my life and how I fall into some of the same circumstances over and over thinking that they find me, but in reality, it's me who seeks the familiar as to not fall into the unknown of all things new. Aside from that, the banter and all the events that took place were hysterical. And my favorite had a very happy ending. Everything I could ask for in a book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was hilarious and it hit home! I cannot be the only person this continually happens to... If you are looking for something lighthearted and upbeat, this will do the trick. The main character is quirky but not so original as to be annoying...she is totally someone you know even if you don't realize it!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't believe that some of you actually like this ridiculous book! I want my money back with interest! I have to admit that I did not even finish it. This book insulted my intelligence. I don't even know why I purchased it I'd like to blame it on a moment of insanity. Actually I think I ordered it by mistake. Anyway the main character was boring and the story made no sense. Chick lit at its lowest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Scene by scene, Frankel has built a story and a character that grow and change, eventually arriving at a completely different place than the book began, with hundreds of witty jokes and laughs along the way. Line by line, the humor is downright wicked. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so cute. The main character is one that every woman can probably see something of herself in. The story is well-paced, funny, and never dull. The protagonist's path to self-discovery and true love was an enjoyable one to follow. I will definitely be reading more of Valerie Frankel's books in the future.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first Valerie Frankle book and it will also be my last. The story was disappointing and boring. I found myself skipping many pages only to still know what was going on. No change or climax. Frankel can use some much needed lessons from the greats of fiction such as Kinsella, Griffin, Ahern and Markham.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For years, I've thought of Valerie Frankel as a well-kept secret, a writer few knew about. But those of us who do read her stuff absolutely love it, can't get enough of it. I am so happy for her that The Girlfriend Curse is getting reviewed everywhere, including People magazine, and that Valerie Frankel might now get the wider audience she so richly deserves. Congratulations! And, oh, yeah, the book is genius, as usual.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best chick lit books I've read in a long, long time. Frankel has a keen knack for dialogue and character development, and her pacing and humor are right on. You'll laugh yourself silly over Inward Bound (read the book to find out what it means) and you'll never want this terrific read to end!
Maggie_H More than 1 year ago
Great of my favorites EVER...great advise Valerie Frankell is one of my favorite writers of all times. Her books are gripping from the first page and laugh-out-loud hilarious. Every story has great characters, heartwarming plots, and hilarious dialoged. You'll fall in love with all the characters from the beginning and want to read every book she has ever written. You won't regret this buy!!!