Saturday, June 20, 2009

Book Review: THE IMPERFECT ENJOYMENT

I had the privilege of hosting author Dewan Gibson, an adjunct faculty member at San Diego State University, and author of THE IMPERFECT ENJOYMENT on my blog a few days ago. He wrote about "Six Tips to Survive an Interracial Relationship"—do check it out, if you have not done so. He will also be around to answer your questions and feedback!

As promised, I am posting the book review today.

***

When college instructor Dewan Gibson leaves the Midwest for California, he expects to find a world of breast implants, beer and beaches. Instead he enters a secret and ill-fated romance with a Middle Eastern undergraduate. In this vivid and humorous memoir, Gibson describes his attempts to overcome his forbidden love affair by jumping into an office fling gone wrong (Tijuana Mornings), traveling across the world to Denmark in hopes of meeting "Ms. Booty Mama" (Arhus Ain't for Lovers) and musing over the interracial relationships between his African-American uncles and "rural white women that wore 1980's big bangs and resembled Guns N' Roses groupies" (Too Much Tupac). Toeing the line between stable adulthood and post-college debauchery, Gibson presents a comically honest look at the frailty of modern relationships. Poignant, witty and at times downright hilarious—The Imperfect Enjoyment is a story of toxic relationships and the search for a second chance at love that enlightens and amuses as very few books do.

It is interesting to read what goes on in a guy’s mind and the stuff he did or will do in the quest for a relationship. The Imperfect Enjoyment by Dewan Gibson is honest and witty. I must admit I do not usually read materials like this but I got curious and had to know, first hand, the male mind by reading this memoir. Dewan Gibson did not disappoint. I squirmed in some parts of the story and laughed out loud in many others. Here are a few quick takes from the book…

“Discreetly” reading questionable materials:
[…] I got a stable job at a bookstore in a ghetto shopping mall that sold only ten-karat gold and Air Jordans. There I spent most of my time hiding out in the stockroom, slyly reading erotic novels hidden inside of hardbacks.

Impressing girls:
[…] I was studious in order to impress Rocio and other high-school girls.

Shyness in courting girls:
Unsure if she even remembered me, I suddenly chickened out and turned away without even going into the store.

Lots of LOL-moments:
In a Spanish-accented whisper she got to the point quickly. "Hi. Do you have a girlfriend?"
"Huh … no … no girlfriend." Of course, this was the truth. I did not even have a single friend who was a girl, let alone a girlfriend.
Making out is one of the main highlights in a guy's mind:
For our first date, on the following weekend, I had planned to take her to a 10:00 p.m. showing of a movie that, in reality, started an hour earlier. I had hoped that we would skip the film and make out in my 1987 red-on-red Plymouth Horizon hatchback, which was souped up with a front-end cover and a stolen CD player. I had figured that since she approached me at the mall, my chances were halfway decent. I was right—well, kind of. We did skip the film, but instead of making out, we ended up just sitting in the car asking each other "So what you wanna do now?"

A need for adventure; thus, ending a relationship:
But my need for adventure was too strong and I was focused on leaving the voluntary segregation and strict social expectations in Ohio and starting anew.

There is even an interesting toilet seat theory or test in relation to a woman’s derriere (but of course in the book it was not stated so delicately). More about this on page 149.

The main love story in the memoir is between Dewan and an Arab girl named Haniyah. The relationship faced objection from her family and that put a lot of pressure on the girl. It is not normal and comfortable:

We spend most of our time in parts of town he doesn’t go to, or hiding in the sheets doing everything but. Of course, we are not a normal couple. There is no family around to speculate about our potential for marriage. No best friends around to double-date or make stale jokes with about male and female roles in a relationship. We have only each other. Whatever friendships we had prior to our bond have been neglected to the point where an attempt to reignite them would seem insincere.

This is a fast read and I finished it in one sitting. The humor aside, The Imperfect Enjoyment shows readers the drama of relationships, of dating, and of losing a special someone.

Would I recommend this book? Only if you are curious about what it is like being a guy embarking on the perilous journey of dating and settling into a relationship.

Find out more about the author here.

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