58. “The Pleasure of my Company,” Steve Martin

Daniel Pecan Cambridge is torn between four women: his neighbor Rachel, whom he has been secretly drugging with doctored smoothies meant to calm the actress’s nerves before auditions; his social worker (or is it is therapist?) Clarissa, who visits Daniel in his home twice a week, providing the structure around which he builds his time; Zandy, the friendly pharmacist who fills his prescriptions and his beloved Rite-Aid; and Elizabeth, a fakey, bleach-blonde real estate agent trying to sell units in the over-priced condo across the street from Daniel’s home.

I came across this title on a disabilities book list, which described Daniel as having OCD. Reading expecting that, I was confused, as he reminded me more of Daniel Tammet in his memoir “Born on a Blue Day.” Assuming that the Publisher’s Weekly review is correct and Daniel has both OCD and autism (or Asperger’s), this book is subtley crafted. If Daniel’s meant to have just OCD, I’d suggest that Martin do a bit more research, as Daniel is heavy on obsessive “quirks” like requiring the combined wattage of the light bulbs in his home to add up to 1,125, but lacking in the tension that necessitates these obsessions be carried out.

Daniel makes for an irreverent, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants narrator, aware when he’s doing “abnormal” things, but not caring or feeling the need to explain why. Just when it starts to get old, Daniel starts to find his routine challenged by new opportunities opening up for him– opportunities that stem directly from some choices that he has made for himself.

(Yes, that Steve Martin.)

Page count: 164
Page total: 15,781

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