Title: You Don’t Love This Man
Author: Dan DeWeese
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Paperback: 352 pages
A novel about fatherhood, marriage . . . and bank robbery.
On the morning of his daughter Miranda’s wedding, Paul learns that the bank he manages has been robbed—apparently by the same man who robbed it twenty-five years before. As if that weren’t enough, Miranda, who is set to marry Paul’s former best friend—a man twice her age—seems to have gone missing.
Struggling to reconcile his little girl with the grown woman he’s about to walk down the aisle (if he can find her), to accept his onetime peer as his future son-in-law, and to comprehend the strange coincidence of being robbed by the same man two decades apart, Paul takes stock of everything leading up to this moment—as he attempts to navigate the day’s many surprises while questioning the motives and choices of those around him.
You Don’t Love This Man by Dan DeWeese is a beautifully complex story of life told through DeWeese’s protagonist Paul, a divorced bank manager who is preparing for his daughter’s wedding while simultaneously dealing with authorities as his bank has been robbed. Loss is used literally and symbolically throughout the book. DeWeese opens the story in a flashback with Paul recalling losing his 3-year-old daughter while taking her trick-or-treating. In those few moments he loses track of his daughter, Paul shares the fears, concerns and thoughts he, as a young father, has while looking for Miranda. Flash-forward to present day, Paul and his ex-wife, Sandra, have mere hours to get ready for their daughter Miranda’s wedding to Paul’s friend Grant. Within minutes, Paul learns Miranda is missing and for the second time in his life he has been robbed. DeWeese has Paul alternate between past and present from the first time Paul’s bank was robbed, through his courtship of Sandra, birth of Miranda to present day where Paul is struggling with numerous stressors at once; his baby is not only about to wed, but her affianced happens to be one of her father’s close friends and of her father’s age. While Paul is trying and failing to process his emotions, he is also searching once again for his daughter and trying to understand life. You Don’t Love This Man on the surface appears to be a rather unassuming book, yet looks are often deceiving and what DeWeese has crafted is a rather detailed and complex story of relationships and how humans process emotions, interactions with one another, showing the everyday mundane parts of life in an entirely new light. Paul is a difficult man, at times his rhetorical ramblings seem to be entirely self-centered, and yet if one looks deeper one can see that Paul is not so different from anyone else. Paul in essence is humanity, he is an average person just trying to get by, at times worried, neurotic, questioning, paranoid, euphoric, and when all is said and done, trying to make it through an emotionally charged day. DeWeese has masterfully taken the mundane and turned it into a profound experience, one that is well worth discussing. You Don’t Love This Man is an excellent debut novel, one to slowly read and digest and one I highly recommend to all readers, especially book discussion groups.
Dan DeWeese teaches writing at Portland State University. His fiction has appeared in Tin House, New England Review, Washington Square, and other publications. In 2009, he created Propeller, an art, film, and literature quarterly magazine, for which he serves as editor in chief.
To learn more about the author please visit his website.
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I received a complimentary copy of You Don’t Love This Man by Dan DeWeese from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.