This is about Parker, from Memphis, who is trying to become a man. He's twelve going on thirteen when we first meet him and suffering through an inning of Little League baseball. He's playing right field, in position and praying a ball won't come his way. It's a scene that sets the theme of his young life-he's ready, but he's terrified.
Parker's progress through middle-class life-high school, college, graduate school (he drops out), paying job in the real world (Atlanta at the millennium)-leads him to a lot of alarmingly seductive women who, more often than not, chew him up and spit him out. He hardly wants to admit it, but he has trouble with girls.
Then there's the one who doesn't spit him out-Rachel. In fact, Rachel's the only one he tries to dump. Sort of. He suggests seeing her only on an informal, between things basis, keeping-as far as sex goes-the options open.
Marshall Boswell's wry, beguiling first book is a canny portrait of a prototypical twenty-first century thirty-something American guy who's trying to balance sensitivity with good old-fashioned sensuality while he's on the make. Like a guy's guide to . . . well, hoping and flailing more than hunting and fishing. By the last story, Parker does catch that high hard one, but also comes to understand that it's Rachel, the prototypical twenty-first century thirty-something woman, who gets credit for the score.