Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Book Review: Zen and Sex by Dermot Davis

Zen and Sex
by Dermot Davis
Romantic Comedy
Available from amazon | amazon uk
4 Stars


Martin is a content twenty-four year old single guy whose peace is disturbed when he receives a wedding invitation from his ex-girlfriend with whom he still pines for.

Does he go?

He considers that if he doesn't go to the wedding, he will be perceived as a sadsack loser.

If he goes alone he'll be perceived as an even worse loser.

However, if he attends the wedding with a drop-dead gorgeous bombshell who looks like she's crazy about him, then it's his ex-girlfriend that's going to look like the loser.

Problem is he's not dating a drop-dead gorgeous bombshell.

He's got three weeks.

After many disastrous online initiated dates, he finally does get to meet a gorgeous bombshell who agrees to attend the wedding with him.

Problem is, not only is she fourteen years his senior, but she's all about putting Zen into relationship, which involves every guy's worst nightmare: talking about your feelings, being conscious of your thoughts and above all, unabashed, honest communication at all times.

Martin has no idea what he is getting himself into and the sharp learning curve that's required of him when all he wants is sex and she wants Zen.


Martin is a photographer in the doldrums after his girlfriend dumps him as she didn't want to get too serious too young, and then has the nerve to send Martin an invitation to her wedding three weeks hence. Martin's room mate Mike and his girlfriend Gloria set out to on a quest to get Martin hooked up with some drop-dead gorgeous woman before the wedding to go as his date.

Trying and failing to impress women in bars, even talking to them on a park bench, Martin reluctantly tries out the Internet dating scene, all of them ending in disaster. He takes each woman to the same restaurant, and is left there alone time and time again. Frances is a slightly older woman who is also at the same restaurant and the same table time and time again and they soon get talking about Martin's bad dates and things develop from there.

I've never read a romantic comedy, or chick-lit, would this be man-lit as it's written by a man? Well, whatever the label, it's quite an amusing read about Martin's adventures in trying to get the woman of his dreams, or at the start of the book, any woman.

The book is written in Martin's first person point of view, and also almost entirely in the present tense. I don't usually go for present tense in longer works as I don't think it flows as well as past tense for novels, however it did give Martin's quest a bit more immediacy here so once you got into the flow it wasn't too bad.

Martin is likeable most of the time, but since we're in his head for the whole book, we don't get to see what other people are thinking, just what Martin thinks about them and some of his thoughts are not what you'd call politically correct. He has a strange attitude towards women, particularly when he's looking for his Internet dates, he only wants to date the beautiful ones and it makes him seem quite shallow, when he isn't, not really and a lot of the time every time he sees a beautiful woman, he's thinking of how best to come on to her. Not how to get to know her better, but how soon he can bed her. Maybe all men think like that, but it made him seem less sympathetic than he could have been.

Frances was wonderful and I would have loved to have been inside her head for some of the book. Mike and Gloria were excellent sidekicks too. A good, fun light-hearted read but with some depth too.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby

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