About the book:
For an LDS man in his early 30s, Todd Landry couldn’t have been more stereotypical. He had the perfect family with more children than the national average; a heritage replete with pioneer ancestry; and a house in Gilbert, Ariz.—a Mormon stronghold in the southwestern United States. But nine months ago, on a night that continues to haunt his dreams, Todd’s wife died unexpectedly—and suddenly everything changed.
Now, Todd is seeing Dr. Melvin Schenk, a psychiatrist not of his faith who requires Todd to blog regularly as a way to escape crippling depression and an aversion to therapy. Through his blog posts, Todd reveals his ugly reentry into the world of dating, the overwhelming odds he faces as a newly-minted single parent, and the uncomfortable realization that the life he enjoyed was not as picture perfect as he thought it to be. With the clarity that his blogging therapy provides, Todd must now decide whether a new chance at happiness is worth alienating his overly traditional father, his emotionally threatened daughter, or both.
Early on, Todd is forced to attend a Single’s Dance by his father. He has no desire to be there, but his best friend Kevin, who is also single, has colluded with Todd’s father to make sure he attends. This scene picks up as Todd and Kevin enter the dance.
All of our lives, Kevin has been more comfortable around girls than me. In high school, he was on girlfriend number four by the time I got a second consecutive date with the same person.
Tonight, it didn’t take long to see nothing had changed. We hadn’t been in the room for three minutes before he was introducing himself to a woman he’d never met. Grunting my displeasure at his abandonment, I turned away and began plotting my escape to the nearest dark corner.
However, before I could move, Kevin grabbed my arm and introduced me to…Karen…Carrie…something. I managed a non-frown as I shook her hand. She smiled back kindly, but I could tell my first impression was lacking as her attention reverted quickly back to my friend. They decided to dance and I made a beeline for the chair furthest from the dance floor.
When I was in high school, there was a code. If a guy chose to sit alone at a dance, you left him alone and worried about yourself. It was an unwritten rule accepted by all. Unfortunately, no one at this dance seemed to be aware of the code at all. Before I could sit down, a woman, who I believe was old enough to be my mother, was asking me to dance. Since my actual mother raised me right, I said yes. And thus began my descent into the inferno.
The next hour and a half consisted of enthralling conversations covering such topics as ex-husbands, delinquent children, upcoming surgeries (three gall bladders and a knee replacement), business opportunities (I need to verify that I didn’t commit to hosting a vinyl lettering party) and, in one surreal exchange, how much I looked like a young Cesar Romero. Not having any idea who that is, I’m choosing to believe it was complimentary.
When I finally caught a glimpse of Kevin heading for the refreshment table, I pried myself loose from an extremely short woman who was in the middle of extolling the virtues of guacamole as a skin care supplement and followed him. It’s a small miracle he didn’t spill red Kool-aid all over himself as I approached from behind and slipped my arm around his shoulders in a less than genial embrace.
“Where have you been? I thought you were my—what did you call it again, oh yeah, lifeline!”
Turning to face me with a broad grin, he responded. “From my vantage point, it looks like you’ve been doing just fine for yourself.”
“Really? I hope you aren’t my only hope for survival if I’m ever attacked by a ravenous wolf pack or Girl Scouts on the last day of cookie sales. You’re useless.”
Looking out onto the dance floor, Kevin dismissively replied, “Lighten up. You’re meeting new people. I’ll grant you, there are a few wing nuts out there, but everybody you’ve talked to tonight is in the exact same situation you are. They’re single and they came to have a good time.”
“Yeah? Well I’m not having a good time and I want to go home. I didn’t think this could be worse than I imagined, but amazingly, it’s exceeding my expectations in every way. When can we leave?”
“Give me twenty minutes. I’m really liking this Caralee.”
He said this name as if I should know who he was talking about. Dumbfounded, I replied, “Who’s Caralee?”
Turning back to me with an expression of bewilderment, he answered, “The woman we met when we first got here.”
“That’s her name? Really? How about ten minutes?”
Kevin rolled his eyes. “Twenty. My gosh, what a wimp you’ve turned into.”
Taking half a step closer, I leaned forward and whispered with all the venom I could muster, “Fine. I will be at that door in twenty minutes. Do NOT be late!”
He brushed me off with a raise of his glass as he walked away. Staring after him, I couldn’t help but wish he had spilled Kool-aid all over himself.
Suddenly, like a hunted animal in the wild, my survival instincts alerted me to danger lurking nearby. Glancing to both sides, I caught sight of the “guacamole lady” closing in fast. I can endure just about anything for twenty minutes, but I was not going to spend one more second discussing the healing qualities of a dish made from avocados.
Spinning quickly in the opposite direction, I collided directly with an oncoming glass of punch. Now I was wearing red Kool-aid. I despise karma!