Searching for Perfect
I’ve always had a thing for nerds. I think it comes from growing up around them. My father, for instance, apparently spent most of his years at school with his nose buried in a book, stumbling over his words every time he had to remove himself and speak to members of the opposite sex. Thus it was natural that I was instantly charmed by Nate Dunkle, the hero of Searching for Perfect. Never before have I encountered a nerd who’s so….nerdy.
Nate Dunkle (or rather, Ned, as he originally calls himself) is looking for love. He has a great job as a rocket scientist, but recently Nate has realized his life is missing something. He’s missing a woman. In order to find one, Nate does some research or feminine likes/dislikes/habits (via Cosmopolitan) and then shows up at a speed-dating event, ready to meet his future wife.
Unfortunately, speed-dating does not go so well for Nate. As Kennedy Ashe, the event coordinator puts it, Nate tanks. First he shows up in a stained lab coat, sporting an abundance of cologne and a distinctly orange spray tan. He then goes on to alienate many of his possible dates by directly bringing up their childbearing capabilities and/or marriage, often while quoting statistics on women and their general relationship success. By the time the night is over, Nate is confused and Kennedy has realized that she needs to take him on as a client. Mr. Dunkle needs a makeover.
Naturally, in the process of this makeover Kennedy finds herself falling for Nate. It seems that they have a lot in common—although Kennedy is a glamorous, confident woman when the book starts, it soon becomes apparent that this was not always the case. As a teenager, Kennedy was overweight and frequently picked on in school. Her lasting insecurities are, in fact, the biggest obstacle in the way of their relationship. When it comes down to a question of commitment, Kennedy is afraid.
Frequently this sort of drama—a commitment-shy hero or heroine who feels they don’t quite deserve to be in a relationship—is overplayed. It’s easy to turn this into a high drama, but books that do that make the feelings of their characters seem much less realistic. Jennifer Probst managed to avoid that for the most part. This book is very well balanced—the funny moments as Nate gets his makeover balance out the more serious elements nicely.
Overall, Searching for Perfect was wonderful. Although I didn’t find the certain sort of je ne sais quoi that categorizes my Desert Island Keepers, I enjoyed it immensely. I’m most definitely seeking out other books by Ms. Probst after this.