For What It's Worth

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review: The Bro-Magnet by Lauren Baratz-Logstead

Women have been known to lament, "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride." For Johnny Smith, the problem is, "Always a Best Man, never a groom." At age 33, housepainter Johnny has been Best Man eight times. The ultimate man's man, Johnny loves the Mets, the Jets, his weekly poker game, and the hula girl lamp that hangs over his basement pool table. Johnny has the instant affection of nearly every man he meets, but one thing he doesn't have is a woman to share his life with, and he wants that desperately. When Johnny meets District Attorney Helen Troy, he decides to renounce his bro-magnet ways in order to impress her. With the aid and advice of his friends and family, soon he's transforming his wardrobe, buying throw pillows, ditching the hula girl lamp, getting a cat and even changing his name to the more mature-sounding John. And through it all, he's pretending to have no interest in sports, which Helen claims to abhor. As things heat up with Helen, the questions arise: Will Johnny finally get the girl? And, if he's successful in that pursuit, who will he be now that he's no longer really himself? THE BRO-MAGNET is a rollicking comedic novel about what one man is willing to give up for the sake of love. (Adult contmeporary)

The Bro-Magnet is hilarious. Shoot your drink through your nose while you're reading funny.

The book opens with this little gem….

"Right from the start I've been a disappointment to women"

When he was born, his mom held him for a few minutes. She thought he'd be a girl, then she died -
"If you'd been a girl," Aunt Alfresca says, taking me from my dead mother's arms..." This never would have happened."

I know all this, not because I was born with some kind of precocious baby-genius capability to instantly understand language, but rather because Aunt Alfresca has spent the last thirty-three years reminding me, at fairly regular intervals."

"As I said right from the start, I've been a disappointment to women"

Poor Johnny Smith goes on to lament a life filled with experiences of disappointing the women in his life. His guy friends love him though and as they get married one by one, Johnny finds himself always the best man (at least 8 times!) but never a groom.

Some of this has to do with his addiction to sports. No woman wants to take a backseat to a man with a sports addiction but he's also just pretty much clueless about how to act around women. I wouldn't call him insensitive, in fact I thought he would make a good boyfriend but he doesn't notice those little details that make most women happy.

When he meets Helen Troy at a sporting event he decides this is his last chance and goes all out to win her over. She's a lawyer and Johnny is just a lowly (in his opinion anyway) painter. Nevertheless, she seems attracted to him and tolerant of his sometimes misguided efforts at dating.

Johnny changes everything about his life to impress Helen. Taking the advice of friends, he buys new throw pillows, adds shell bath soaps by the bathroom sink, starts watching General Hospital and feigns disinterest in sports.

I adore male POV stories and The Bro-Magnet was one of the first I've read that really immerses you into the guys perspective when it comes to dating and meeting women. Johnny is self deprecating and very funny but after a while I felt like I was reading a long stream of consciousness. This guy over thinks everything! I also didn't feel like I got to know Helen as a character very well.

Both Helen and Johnny are trying so hard to present themselves as the perfect partner to each other that they lose all sense of self - to the point that I had a hard time understanding what they saw in each other at all. I definitely understand why you might hide a rabid sports habit but isn't it ok to casually watch a game with friends? It was nice to see Johnny learn a few things about himself through his changes though and on balance I enjoyed The Bro-Magnet.

Rating: 3 out of 4 The second half seemed to meander and loose focus for me a bit but I liked the male POV and the humor. Quick delightful read that doesn't take itself too seriously. I could definitely see The Bro-Magnet as a movie.

Lauren Baratz-Logstead: website | Twitter
Source: Netgalley
Buy the book! The Bro-Magnet


  1. Hah! I really enjoy books that have humor in them (why are they so hard to find?) so I'm glad I read this review. I wouldn't normally pick up a book like this because the cover doesn't seem like my typical read, but it sounds like it's worth checking out! Great review.

    Wendy @ at The Midnight Garden

  2. That's funny you mentioned it being a film because I totally got the vibe from your review! It's always interesting to read male POVs in books and this seems like a fun book. :)

  3. I absolutely love fun books that make me laugh. I think I would really enjoy this one. Hopefully I can get to it at some point.
    Nice review!

  4. Oh a book that makes you laugh and male POV-- I must add this book to the pile.

  5. I have been seeing this one around lately and everyone seems to be loving it :) Makes me want to try it too

  6. Wow. I was kind of planning on passing on this one until I read your review. It DOES sound ridiculously hilarious, and I can always use a good laugh!