Not That Kind of Guy
In this current time, conversations around books often bring up the question: is this good pandemic reading? Is it hopeful, endearing, diverting? Unfortunately, Andie J. Christopher’s Not That Kind of Guy is Not That Kind of Book.
Bridget Nolan is an Irish Catholic Chicago girl who was inspired to her attorney career by Law & Order: SVU episodes. When she gets an intern, Matt Kido, who happens to be part of the rich (and exceptionally diverse – he’s part Japanese and part “Boston Brahmin” with “an ancestor who had come over on the Mayflower”) family whose fellowship she’s competing for in hopes of ending her student debt, she doesn’t expect to have any feelings for him other than the necessary professional tolerance. But at the end of Matt’s internship, she asks him to join her on her brother and his fiancée’s rather weird bachelor/bachelorette party trip to Vegas – weird because it includes his parents, lots of mutual family friends and Bridget’s ex (her brother’s best friend). Of course, Bridget and Matt end up getting married in Vegas.
When I review a book, I try to include humor, but this book is so miserable, I find myself struggling to crack a single joke. I’ve redrafted multiple paragraphs that are a litany of the ways in which Bridget, our heroine, peppers the book with her bitterness. Let’s try the author’s own words about her: Bridget “operated on the premise that she always knew what was best, and the only thing that could ruin her plans were the foibles of the other people in her life”. Rarely do I read a book which forces me to think to myself ‘I think the main character would hate the readers of her story if she met them’. I can comfortably say that Bridget would loathe me (the feeling is mutual). This woman who hates everyone is also devoted to acquiring everyone’s approval of her “life choices” – friends, estranged mother, priest. A content warning is in order here: an ongoing topic of the book is an abortion Bridget had, which is brought up out of the blue and discussed in graphic medical detail.
Matt is a spoiled rich boy whose great growth in the story is to get “out from under his parents’ thumbs” to live directionlessly on his trust fund. I hope he enjoys the few hours he has before Bridget takes over his life. He’s “a scalding-hot sex god of a lover” according to Bridget, except his skills, as depicted, are as good the French bulldog’s whose enthusiasm for dry humping people’s arms is a running joke in the book. Matt. Never. Gives. Bridget. An. Orgasm. During the few sexual encounters we see, Christopher makes sure to draw our attention to the fact that Bridget “touch[ed] herself until she came”, even when Matt’s in a literal position to lend Bridget a literal hand. As for oral, you must be talking about toothpaste because that’s the only thing he puts in his mouth (oh, there you are, sense of humor. I missed you!).
There’s a lot in this premise that could have yielded a far better story than this. It has diversity in its main characters, the Irish Catholic Chicago setting is relatively original, Christopher’s decision to keep this workplace romance actually out of the work place so that there isn’t an inappropriate power dynamic is thoughtful, and Bridget and Matt have believable chemistry until they actually have sex. But sadly, I can honestly say that far from easing anybody’s self-isolation, Not That Kind of Guy would probably not delight even an immortal being with the body of a twenty-two-year-old dwelling in a health utopia.