Busch, Frederick. Take This Man. New York: Ballantine Books, 1983.
Reason read: February is Busch’s death month. Read in his memory.
This is a love story in its purest form. Simple plot: Ellen LaRue Spencer is on her way to California to see her soldier fiance who hasn’t shipped out to war yet. Her car breaks down in a barren midwest town where she meets hapless Tony Prioleau. Despite his unsuccessful business ventures and his thing for television (he wants to harness the power of television to assist in the war effort), Ellen is attracted to him and ends up in his bed..but she still leaves him for her fiance. Ten years later, a son shows up on Tony’s doorstep and the love Tony buried all those years ago comes bubbling back up. He accepts the boy as his own, no questions asked.
I don’t think it is a spoiler alert to say that Ellen herself comes back to Tony. But not without complications. She is still married and still confused about the depth of her attraction to Tony.
Confessional: the last twenty pages are heartbreaking.
Vivid lines, “…poured an unfresh breath into Prioleau’s face to say…” (p 46). I just love that image.
Other lines I liked, “And you cook like a mass murderer” (p 55). I don’t know what that would taste like. I’m guessing not good. And. And! And, “Twenty years later, and she was still in transit, collecting men at the edge of the sea (p 156) and “…but he was frightened as he stepped up onto the side porch to get hugged home” (p 192).
Author fact: Take This Man is Busch’s eighth book.
Book trivia: The cover of Take This Man is intriguing. Two people are adrift in a rowboat. In my mind it symbolized Tony and Ellen’s relationship. It was never solidified or tethered to reality.
Nancy said: absolutely nothing.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Frederick Busch: Too Good To Miss” (p 48).