To ease her loneliness, Judy Mason orders a wooden replica of her husband, Harry, a sailor aboard ship at sea. Instead of Harry’s facsimile, the anatomically incorrect manny turns out to be a caricature of him. No matter. Her girlfriends are not only envious that she has found a friend and potential business partner in the dummy; they also want to borrow him and pay for his company by the hour. But their husbands soon become suspicious, most of all Harry who, when he returns home from sea, is convinced that the dummy is out to take him over. Harry’s jealousy, his odd behavior, and strange goings on in their apartment building near Seattle, convinces Judy that he may be right. To put an end to Harry’s uncanny switch from man to manny, Judy resorts to extremes. As usual, the outcome of her efforts is a series of comical blunders with hilarious consequences. The idea that sex sells endures, and, as in Me and My Manny, so does making fun of it.
Me and My Manny, by M. A. MacAfee, is a story about Judy, a lonely woman who’s husband, Harry, is away for long periods of time for work. To quell her loneliness, Judy decides to have a mannequin made to the likeness of her husband.
While I do understand loneliness, maybe the fact that I would rather buy a dog than make a life-size inanimate version of my husband is why I thought this was a bizarre little book. Of course, unlike Judy, I’ve never had to face my spouse being away for very long periods of time, so maybe if I was in that situation, I would do — or at least consider — what she did. Who knows!
MacAfee jumps around from genre to genre and we see romance, mystery, and horror all in the same book, which added a nice change of pace when the focus of how Judy could use her mannequin, Wolfgang, to make some money seemed to be a little repetitive. At times, though, it even seems to reach out to talking about some more “risque” topics — some of which seemed just a little out of place and unnecessary — that I wasn’t too sure what to really focus on.
Now, that’s not to say that Me and My Manny isn’t a good book. As quirky as it is, the whole story is wrapped up in a neat package, following a storyline that makes sense (in a way), engaging the reader in laughs and a bit of horror as we are left to wonder if the mannequin is coming to life, or if it’s possessed, taking over the life of Harry. At times, I wondered if Judy was going crazy! There was so many places the storyline could have gone and I think MacAfee did a good job with what she did.
As the story progresses, we see that the whole idea of the novel was to show a marriage that was drifting apart, drift back together again. It’s easy to see the changes between Judy and Harry and wonder if these changes would have taken place had a mannequin not taken over their lives.
Nicely written, Me and My Manny would be a good read for any adult reader whose spouse may be gone for long periods of time — it’s humorous and fun, a quick read.
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