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Love Monkey: A Novel

Love Monkey: A Novel

by Kyle Smith


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Many men aim high; Tom Farrell dares to be average. While his friends accumulate wedding rings, mortgages, and even, alarmingly, babies, Tom still lives alone in his rented apartment with nothing but condiments and alcohol in his refrigerator. He spends Saturday mornings watching cartoons and eating Cocoa Puffs out of an Empire Strikes Back bowl, and devotes the rest of the weekend to his other favorite hobbies: sports and girls. His credo, to think and act like a thirteen-year-old boy at all times, has worked well enough to land him a decent job writing headlines for the New York Tabloid. But neither his personal life nor his professional life has any forward momentum; he's occupied the same cubicle since the first George Bush was president and is currently "between girlfriends." At thirty-two, it starts to occur to him: There's a fine line between picky and loser.

Enter a sly, beautiful coworker named Julia. After a few torrid dates, Tom is hooked. "She's like cleaning behind my refrigerator. A once-in-a-lifetime thing." But the closer he gets to Julia, the more elusive she becomes. Frustrated, Tom seeks the dubious advice of his buddy Shooter, a shallow sexual gladiator, and wonders why he keeps getting into arguments with Bran, his smart, sarcastic "default date." But then tragedy strikes, and everyone's attitudes toward life and love change — and even Tom begins to see himself in a new light.

By turns riotous and tenderhearted, Kyle Smith's Love Monkey is the most candid and excruciatingly funny exploration of the male mind and libido since High Fidelity.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060574543
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/01/2005
Series: P.S. Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.83(d)

About the Author

Kyle Smith is the author of Love Monkey, the hit novel that was adapted into a CBS television series starring Tom Cavanagh and Jason Priestley. He is also a movie critic for the New York Post, which posts his reviews online each week at He lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

Love Monkey

By Smith, Kyle

William Morrow & Company

ISBN: 0060574534

Chapter One

Saturday, July 7

My day.

8:00 A.M. Arise.

8:00–8:15. Light stretching. Don't forget those hamstrings. A few push-ups to warm the blood.

8:20. Out the door, hit Central Park Reservoir. Do six laps. Pace: seven minutes per mile. That's ten and a half miles in seventy-five minutes.

9:45. Back home. Shower, reread The Brothers Karamazov ("Grand Inquisitor" episode only).

11:45. Call Mom.

12:30. Lunch. Grilled quail, wild rice, spinach salad, fresh-squeezed oj.

1:00. To the Met. Check out Vermeer exhibit. Strike up conversation with cute twenty-five-year-old Dutch graduate student I meet standing in front of Woman Wearing Doily Around Her Neck; obtain her numerals, agree to meet for drinks at the Carlyle "early next week."

4:00. Back home. Work on my novel till dinner. One interruption: call from superagent.

8:30. Quiet dinner with a few friends at Le Bernadin. No really, fellas, it's on me. They all know about my huge advance. We laugh about it.

11:45. Village Vanguard to hear some jazz. Exchange dirty jokes with compadres, trade saucy banter with cocktail waitress who, as I sweep out the door, slips me her digits.

2:00. Cab back home, practice piano for half an hour, and so to bed. If can't sleep, read a chapter of that John Adams bio everyone's talking about. (Was he really cooler than T. Jefferson?)

That's what it says in my Yahoo! appointment book for today, anyway. But back here on Planet Manhattan, I creep out of bed as dawn breaks over Honolulu and skulk in the shower for forty-five minutes. (I know it was forty-five minutes because I had Pink Floyd's The Wall in my Raindance CD player, and I got all the way through disc one.) Then I pick, off the floor, a few more dead flower petals from The Dinner and plant myself on the sofa that still bears my ass print from last night, surrounded by my twenty-first-century entertainment- and sodium-delivery devices: four fiendishly over-complicated, girl-proof remote controls; two near-spent crinkly bags of salty snacks. There's a white crumb on the couch. I am too civilized to just leave it there, so I pick it up. And I put it in my mouth. Pfft. Dandruff. At best.

Some notes on me.

The name is Tom Farrell. I'm from That generation. You know the one I'm talking about. The one after the one that discovered the Beatles and nonbinding sex, the one before the one where seventeen-year-olds asked to be excused from Phys. Ed. so they could launch their IPOs. Yeah, that'd be us: the Lamest Generation. Cultural anthropologists of the future will remember us primarily for nonblack tuxedos, Valerie Bertinelli, and Men at Work. Our grandfathers won World War II. We can't even tie a bow tie.

I'm not in great shape. I do, occasionally, complete one gasping lap around the reservoir. When I run, it's prose in motion. My abs are a one-pack. My arms are steamed licorice. My teeth are carved of wax. I've been compared to a redheaded Winnie the Pooh, an Oompa Loompa without the self-tanning lotion, a slightly elongated Teletubby. For one formative grade -- fifth -- I was known exclusively as "Doughboy." The first time some playground wit poked my tummy hoping to elicit a girlish giggle, it was funny. The 100th time it was less so. By the 500th time, I was developing a complex, and at 603 (I counted, oh how I counted), I entered therapy. At 607, my late father opened a glassine-windowed envelope, began a five-second argument with my mother ("What the hell is this shit?"), and therapy was concluded.

I'm defiantly average, studiously okay, the Gap of bachelors. You know how when you go into Duane Reade and there's a generic product next to the one with a logo and a memorable back story of amusing and informative TV commercials? IBUPROFEN. MOUTHWASH. ANTIHISTAMINE. That's me: the man without a brand. The one you would never pick after you won the lottery. I contain all the same ingredients, and I'm a bargain. But I have no shelf appeal. If someone saw me in your medicine chest, you'd die.

I'm thirty-two, as healthy as any other Spam-raised American male. I look pretty young. Hair is disappearing from my scalp, but fortunately it hasn't deserted me: It's just relocating to my nostrils and ears. My face -- my patriotic mug of red hair, white skin, blue eyes -- is doing okay. I have no laugh lines (what's funny?). I'm not short, not really. I stand the Minimum Acceptable Height for an Adult Male. (Some celebrities I know to be shorter than myself: Redford. Stallone. Pitt.) But the only way I could ever be labeled tall would be if I became a Starbucks beverage. I don't play sports much anymore, so I compensate by watching extra sports on TV. Australian Rules golf, anyone? Need a rundown of the favorites at this year's Tour de Luxembourg?

I have a one-bedroom apartment, a refrigerator containing (solely) beverages and condiments, a Manhattan-sized mini-microwave deployed only for popping corn, a supply of Cheez-It crumbs that I store under my sofa cushions, stacks of dusty black stereo equipment, and an increasingly avalanchable Matterhorn of CDs. (Single women in their thirties accumulate cats; I stockpile home electronics.) I've got the requisite panoply of Banana Republic shirts in assorted colors (dark blue, light blue, blue). I own forty-three T-shirts. I watch The Simpsons 3.7 times a week, and I floss 3.7 times a year. When the house lights go down before a rock concert, I am often the first to shout, "Freebird!"


Excerpted from Love Monkey by Smith, Kyle Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Meghan Daum

“An anatomy chart of the male psyche, root, a deep yearning for romantic love.”

Toby Young

“This is the funniest book I’ve read all year. ”

Marian Keyes

“An instant classic .... gives women the one thing they almost never get from men—the truth.”

Anna Maxted

“Very funny and the writing is superb. Kyle Smith is fearsomely talented.”

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