Avon, Jan 2004, 13.95, 352 pp.
Only thirty-five, Widow Frieda Schast, owner of a picture frame store, still feels the loss of her husband Gregg, who died from cancer thirteen months ago. From the deathiversary day that Gregg was interred, Frieda's older sister Ilene has felt it is her quest in life to travel from Manhattan to the Brooklyn frontier to find her sibling a husband whether Frieda is interested or not. Her latest find entomologist Professor Roger O'Leary can only be the “Two” since Gregg will always be the “One”.
Ilene's husband Peter Vermillion wants her to stop matchmaking her younger sister. Ilene counters with wanting the overweight Peter to watch what he eats especially that extra cannoli. As she does with Peter, Ilene nags until Frieda is on a date with Roger the Bugman, but Frieda does not even make much of an effort.
While Frieda's other sister spinster Betty may have finally found a man who turns up the juices of her body, actor Sam Hill enters the widow's shop to have a review article of a play he performs in framed. Frieda finds the youngster (not even thirty) quite exciting as he offers a sexual healing with no commitment strings.
THE NOT SO PERFECT MAN is an interesting character study that looks deep into the varying woes of three New York City siblings, the men in their lives, and another couple. The myriad of subplots offer insight into eight living people and the late Gregg is well written, but contains too much baggage to keep track of who suffers from what. Still Valerie Frankel provides a fine relationship tale that showcases love hurts, but anything less is loneliness.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner