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The Way Men Act

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Melinda LeBlanc, at 30, makes an untriumphant return to Harrow, Massachusetts, her recently gentrified hometown. She’s unmarried, romanced out, designing wedding bouquets for old classmates who hadn't known a fraction of her early popularity. So why is she alone—not counting the occasional horizontal encounter—while these dull brides have found men and happiness? Libby Get Melinda LeBlanc, at 30, makes an untriumphant return to Harrow, Massachusetts, her recently gentrified hometown. She’s unmarried, romanced out, designing wedding bouquets for old classmates who hadn't known a fraction of her early popularity. So why is she alone—not counting the occasional horizontal encounter—while these dull brides have found men and happiness? Libby Getchel, who designs strange dresses in the shop next door, and Dennis Vaughan, a native son who owns the hip Brookhoppers, a fly fisherman's paradise, provide friendship in mutating forms. The Way Men Act explores age-old quandary: Can you every truly go home again? Find out in this “wise and charming novel” (Cosmopolitan).


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Melinda LeBlanc, at 30, makes an untriumphant return to Harrow, Massachusetts, her recently gentrified hometown. She’s unmarried, romanced out, designing wedding bouquets for old classmates who hadn't known a fraction of her early popularity. So why is she alone—not counting the occasional horizontal encounter—while these dull brides have found men and happiness? Libby Get Melinda LeBlanc, at 30, makes an untriumphant return to Harrow, Massachusetts, her recently gentrified hometown. She’s unmarried, romanced out, designing wedding bouquets for old classmates who hadn't known a fraction of her early popularity. So why is she alone—not counting the occasional horizontal encounter—while these dull brides have found men and happiness? Libby Getchel, who designs strange dresses in the shop next door, and Dennis Vaughan, a native son who owns the hip Brookhoppers, a fly fisherman's paradise, provide friendship in mutating forms. The Way Men Act explores age-old quandary: Can you every truly go home again? Find out in this “wise and charming novel” (Cosmopolitan).

30 review for The Way Men Act

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cayla

    Last year I read On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman and loved it, so I thought I would check out some of her backlist. Perhaps I chose the wrong book, as this wasn't nearly as funny or warm-hearted as that one. The characters weren't all the likable and all the relationship drama that went on wasn't my cup of tea. That being said, I will still keep my eye out for future books by this author...perhaps she has refined her stories through the years. 2.5/5 Last year I read On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman and loved it, so I thought I would check out some of her backlist. Perhaps I chose the wrong book, as this wasn't nearly as funny or warm-hearted as that one. The characters weren't all the likable and all the relationship drama that went on wasn't my cup of tea. That being said, I will still keep my eye out for future books by this author...perhaps she has refined her stories through the years. 2.5/5

  2. 4 out of 5

    Raina

    There is something about her subtle, intelligent writing that sets her apart from the others writing about similar subjects. I enjoyed the quirky characters as well, finding them to be quite real, interesting people. This novel is a hoot! Definitely one of Ms. Lipman's less serious efforts. The "heroine" is a basically decent, if emotionally stunted and morally confused, ex-cheerleader who is struggling with growing up now that she's 30ish and foundering professionally and personally. But she fi There is something about her subtle, intelligent writing that sets her apart from the others writing about similar subjects. I enjoyed the quirky characters as well, finding them to be quite real, interesting people. This novel is a hoot! Definitely one of Ms. Lipman's less serious efforts. The "heroine" is a basically decent, if emotionally stunted and morally confused, ex-cheerleader who is struggling with growing up now that she's 30ish and foundering professionally and personally. But she finds out that there are good people and bad people out there; the trick is to embrace the former and avoid the latter. Good advice. It has a strong literary quality and all of her books that I've read have been a great read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I'm a big fan of Elinor Lipman, and this book is still my favorite of her novels, and I've read all of them. The Way Men Act is a satisfying story, with believable characters. Even more important, Lipman gets what it's like to be 30-something, single and looking for one's place in the world. I pull this book out every few years and re-read it, and it is always just as satisfying as it was the first time. I'm a big fan of Elinor Lipman, and this book is still my favorite of her novels, and I've read all of them. The Way Men Act is a satisfying story, with believable characters. Even more important, Lipman gets what it's like to be 30-something, single and looking for one's place in the world. I pull this book out every few years and re-read it, and it is always just as satisfying as it was the first time.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Sure, it's a pink cover with a disembodied female extremity on it - never a sign that you're reading earth-shaking literature. But I've always considered Lipman to be a notch or three above typical chick-lit, and this book's no exception. She perfectly captures the yuppified New England college town experience. The first-person narrator's blind spots are entirely believable, antagonists are complex and not just transparently terrible, and resolution is achieved logically but not obviously. Lipma Sure, it's a pink cover with a disembodied female extremity on it - never a sign that you're reading earth-shaking literature. But I've always considered Lipman to be a notch or three above typical chick-lit, and this book's no exception. She perfectly captures the yuppified New England college town experience. The first-person narrator's blind spots are entirely believable, antagonists are complex and not just transparently terrible, and resolution is achieved logically but not obviously. Lipman manages to introduce a love interest in the early pages that really doesn't telegraph the happy ending to the reader - a hard thing to do.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    I am a fan of Elinor Lipman's books. Her well drawn portraits of believable people, her wry but telling observations of the contemporary scene are all very satisfying. This book is a story of how difficult it is to escape high school, especially if you return to the town where it happened. The three high school friends in this book, Melinda, Libby and Dennis are all very well drawn. The complications of their lives are small but real, and the reader cares about what happens to all of them. The di I am a fan of Elinor Lipman's books. Her well drawn portraits of believable people, her wry but telling observations of the contemporary scene are all very satisfying. This book is a story of how difficult it is to escape high school, especially if you return to the town where it happened. The three high school friends in this book, Melinda, Libby and Dennis are all very well drawn. The complications of their lives are small but real, and the reader cares about what happens to all of them. The dialogue is spot on, the portrait of live in a small eastern college town is wonderful.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I love everything Elinor Lipman, and this was the last of her books I hadn't read before. I enjoyed this one - it wasn't my favorite of hers, but she never disappoints. I love quirky characters, and my favorite part of the book was Rosalie and the fish seller. I did feel Melinda, the main character was a bit hard to like, and therefore hard to root for - but the end made me smile! Next book, Bellman and Black, by Diane Setterfield, author of the wonderful first novel the Thirteenth Tale. We'll s I love everything Elinor Lipman, and this was the last of her books I hadn't read before. I enjoyed this one - it wasn't my favorite of hers, but she never disappoints. I love quirky characters, and my favorite part of the book was Rosalie and the fish seller. I did feel Melinda, the main character was a bit hard to like, and therefore hard to root for - but the end made me smile! Next book, Bellman and Black, by Diane Setterfield, author of the wonderful first novel the Thirteenth Tale. We'll see if this second novel lives up.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I fear that the previous book I read by Lipman (My Latest Grievance) was in fact not representative of her style. Such a shame because, if I am to read chick-lit, it needs a little snark. The Way Men Act lacked edge. I suspect Lipman tried to cover too many of the dating/ relationship challenges that women of a certain age (30+) face and then went on tie the the ending up in a big pink bow. Not for me. 2/5

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Knibloe

    My absolute favorite author. This is the first book of hers I read; after it I was hooked. My only complaint is the title; it makes it sound like a self help book. This is a funny, touching story about a woman (a "leftover popular girl") who returns to her hometown and ends up working in a flower store flanked by old classmate's stores. My absolute favorite author. This is the first book of hers I read; after it I was hooked. My only complaint is the title; it makes it sound like a self help book. This is a funny, touching story about a woman (a "leftover popular girl") who returns to her hometown and ends up working in a flower store flanked by old classmate's stores.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    Review from second reading, March 2017: When I first read this book, I was in college, and 22 years old. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though I wondered a bit at how someone's life could get away from them, and thought of the characters as true adults, very grown up, a little bit old to be where they were in life, etc. This time around, just on the verge of turning myself, I was amused to realize that I was now the exact age as these characters, and am also unmarried, and while not a floral designer o Review from second reading, March 2017: When I first read this book, I was in college, and 22 years old. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though I wondered a bit at how someone's life could get away from them, and thought of the characters as true adults, very grown up, a little bit old to be where they were in life, etc. This time around, just on the verge of turning myself, I was amused to realize that I was now the exact age as these characters, and am also unmarried, and while not a floral designer or the owner of a fishing shop, I am a bartender, not something I would have heard at age 22 and thought of exactly as "success". I still wonder how a life, mine or anyone else's, can slip away from one like they do (not to say that 30 is old or that my life is over, just that I do not have the career I vaguely imagined I would have by now, and thought the characters should have, at their age, in the book). In that way it was really nice to re-read this now -- it felt more resonant and seemed more realistic, than it had then. Another interesting aspect of the book, published in the early 90s, is how much it embodies the belief of a "post-racial society". Impossible to think of a book like this, which touches on biracial couples, being published in the post-Ferguson era, especially not without a whole lot of... reaction. I do not think this book is especially naive in the areas of race, I mostly think it is a clear product of its time, and it is a little entertaining to see that in these more racially-charged times. That said I think this book handles issues of race fairly well, not being afraid to mention it or discuss some aspects head-on, but it clearly also plays it somewhat safe. Lipman gets away with it because the main character is white and her interactions with her black friend and love interest are fairly limited. If the narrative continued on a few months past the book's ending, we would definitely need to see our heroine reckoning more with race, head-on. As it is, she gets to be a privileged white woman (like myself) who doesn't have to deal with these things on a daily basis, although she clearly has lots of rude awakenings coming her way. (view spoiler)[ I think it is important to note: the book was published in 1992 -- so let's say it takes place in 1990 -- and the main character, Melinda, and her romantic pairing, Dennis, are 30. Melinda and Dennis presumably marry and live happily ever after, which means that when Trayvon Martin was killed, in 2012, fictional Melinda could easily have had a fictional 19-year-old son, and he would not be white. In 2014, when Michael Brown was killed, her fictional hypothetical son could be 21. And closer to home for Melinda and Dennis, foreshadowing these much more tragic events, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. would have been apprehended and arrested when their fictional hypothetical son could have been 16. Imagine how that would impact a novel about a quiet New England couple, business owners on Main Street, who happen to be interracial. I am merely thinking about how much these events have changed my understanding of the book, as I first read it six months before Gates' arrest. I think it's interesting to consider how time would have affected the characters. (hide spoiler)] Review from first reading, January 2009: Lipman is a little bit like a modern Austen. On the surface it looks like chick-lit but when you look deeper there are all sorts of social messages, constructs that play a huge role, etc. Her writing is much more impressive than in your typical boy-meets-girl novel; it has a strong literary quality and all of her books that I've read have been a great read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alex Brocone

    This was my first Elinor Lipman book, and I have read all the ones I can get my hands on since. There is something about her subtle, intelligent writing that sets her apart from the others writing about similar subjects. I enjoyed the quirky characters as well, finding them to be quite real, interesting people. I can't recommend this writer enough. This was my first Elinor Lipman book, and I have read all the ones I can get my hands on since. There is something about her subtle, intelligent writing that sets her apart from the others writing about similar subjects. I enjoyed the quirky characters as well, finding them to be quite real, interesting people. I can't recommend this writer enough.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    My favorite Elinor Lipman novel. She is an author whose books I automatically buy or get from the library when a new one comes out. This is her second one, and a book I will always have in my collection.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paulatics

    This is the book that hooked me on author Elinor Lipman. I picked it up -- totally at random -- at a small town library. I read it at my mother's hospital bedside. It was one of those situations where a book hit an emotional need at the time. This is the book that hooked me on author Elinor Lipman. I picked it up -- totally at random -- at a small town library. I read it at my mother's hospital bedside. It was one of those situations where a book hit an emotional need at the time.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paige Minichiello

    Even after finishing the book, I still don't know how I feel about the characters. It wasn't exactly my cup of tea. Even after finishing the book, I still don't know how I feel about the characters. It wasn't exactly my cup of tea.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lynnaea

    This is a fun chick-lit type novel about small communities and the joys of dating as an adult (post college). Melinda really thinks she knows how everyone should be living her life but is missing some very obvious clues for her own life that are right in front of her. Cue lots of small-town romantic and professional drama. There is little plot in this book but I still found the ideas and characters interesting enough to keep reading. Unfortunately, a few key characters were underdeveloped, inclu This is a fun chick-lit type novel about small communities and the joys of dating as an adult (post college). Melinda really thinks she knows how everyone should be living her life but is missing some very obvious clues for her own life that are right in front of her. Cue lots of small-town romantic and professional drama. There is little plot in this book but I still found the ideas and characters interesting enough to keep reading. Unfortunately, a few key characters were underdeveloped, including the main love interest. There is very little actual romance in this book despite the premise. 3/5

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    I really enjoyed this. It’s like smart chick lit. A 30-year old single woman explores relationships and romance. I enjoyed the small hometown setting (and happened to be in my own small hometown when I read it). I would read more by Lipman, especially if I can get her books at the library. The ending to this was a little trite and I didn’t really like it, but I really enjoyed all the rest of the book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kelli Reddy

    Light novel about a 30 year old women who moves back home having not accomplished much of anything in the years since high school. She’s a floral designer who falls in love with the fly fisherman she went to high school. The writing style was funky, jarring at times but humorous. Liked, didn’t love.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Another great book by this author. Melinda comes back to her hometown because it's the only place she ever felt successful. She makes friends and tries to find love and along the way, figures out what the men in her life want. Great story, great characters, and satisfying the entire way through! Another great book by this author. Melinda comes back to her hometown because it's the only place she ever felt successful. She makes friends and tries to find love and along the way, figures out what the men in her life want. Great story, great characters, and satisfying the entire way through!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jules

    I found this author in 'So Many Books, So Little Time'. The book started off good…but ended up great! I loved the wit and charm of this book. The characters were warm, interesting, and full of human foibles. Can't wait to read more of this author. I found this author in 'So Many Books, So Little Time'. The book started off good…but ended up great! I loved the wit and charm of this book. The characters were warm, interesting, and full of human foibles. Can't wait to read more of this author.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Daleiden-brugman

    Okay story... would like to try one of her others.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Amsden

    3.5 stars

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Andersen

    An entertaining book when you're looking for something light. An entertaining book when you're looking for something light.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mary Crotty

    cute - not her best

  23. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    What I love about Elinor is that she lures me into every story and makes me love her characters even if the plot has nothing at all in common with my life. Her books are so enjoyable!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Rosemont

    Didn't have much of a plot. Didn't have much of a plot.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Estella

    Ugh.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Meh. Started off decent and then got long and then got better.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wesley Satterwhite

    Uninteresting, not-very-likable, whiny and selfish main character. Dull writing.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    it was fine. not sure why it's called 'the way men act'... the women were the ones acting ridiculous. it was fine. not sure why it's called 'the way men act'... the women were the ones acting ridiculous.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    These people are all terrible

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rae Simpson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Minuteman. Woman returns to college town where was successful in high school, struggling now, flower arranger, meets others from high school also struggling, ends up with Dennis, African American, racism badly handled by author.

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