The Man Test
by Amanda Aksel
Source: Provided by Author
Available as of March 25, 2014
Marin Johns is San Francisco’s Pollyanna couples therapist. She’s months away from wedded bliss when she discovers her fiancé is having an affair. After nursing her broken heart with Kleenex and break-up songs, she adopts a new brand of thinking when she uncovers a tell-all book that proves all men are liars and cheaters who will do and say anything so they’re not found out. No exceptions.
In an attempt to convince her friends of her newfound truth, she begins a fictitious relationship with James, a do-gooder from Montana. Marin seeks any means necessary to catch him cheating from hiring a PI to enlisting the help of a fidelity tester. Will her new "boyfriend" beat the statistic or will Marin regret the satisfaction of being right?
No woman ever thinks that her man will cheat... until they walk in on it. Marin Johns thought everyone had that one special someone out there waiting for them, that everyone could have what her parents have, a happily ever after.
There are no words that could convey how amazingly awesome this book is. Marin was amusing to say the least. When I say amusing I don't just mean her comments and actions, I'm specifically talking about her thought process. I couldn't help but laugh my way through her story. She was out to prove that all men are lying, cheating bastards (pardon my French), and in the process turned into a basket case and I could see all the ways every choice she made could go wrong. It doesn't help that she herself is a couples therapist and should know better. I LOVED it.
So what specifically did I enjoy about this book? I loved that Marin reacted exactly as I would have had I caught a guy cheating. I found it ironic that a couples therapist happened to be the one it happened to and it resulted in this huge ordeal. I also liked that one of her best friends was anti-relationship and fully supportive of her "test" while the pro-relationship/happily-ever-after-can-happen other best friend told her not to do this. It's like she had her own personal devil and angel on her shoulders.
While I am completely and entirely in love with the story, at times I felt like I lost faith in men. I mean, I know this is fiction and what not, but being a psychology major I'm starting to question whether humans, as a species, were made to be monogamous. While I questioned the ability of a man to stay faithful, I also thought about what spurred Marin's idea to prove all were cheaters. It all started with a suggestion and that just goes to show what the power of suggestion can do.
Overall, I highly recommend The Man Test to anyone who wants to be amused by a therapist. It was witty, clever, and ingenious. Definitely my favorite read so far this year.
with Amanda Aksel
with Amanda Aksel
Pet Peeves? Everyone has them. Could you tell us about a few of yours?
I think pet peeves are so strange, even mine. I have two main pet peeves. Toilet paper should roll from above, not below. If yours is wrong, I will change it. The other is when adults make exaggerated excuses for getting out of things like projects or a day at the office. You’re a grown-up, if you can’t or don’t want to do something just say so. I don’t need a song and dance.
If you could choose to have any superpower, what would you want and why?
I’ve always loved the notion of witches flying on brooms. I want that superpower. Sometimes I have dreams I can fly, and it’s very freeing.
If we were to take a look at your nightstand, what book(s) would we find?
Let’s see, I have Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live, Cindy Chupack’s The Longest Date, and the first Game of Thrones, which I’m getting through little by little.
When you aren’t writing what do you enjoy doing?
I love laying out on the beach, doing things around the house (cleaning and organizing), or watching my favorite TV shows like Greys Anatomy or Sex and the City.
Name 3 things you always have with you when you are writing?
My laptop, the internet (for research), and a nice cup of tea.
Do you listen to music when you write? If so, can you name a few songs that were playing or inspired you while writing The Man Test?
Music inspires so much of my writing. I’m planning a blog post on this topic. The funny thing is I can’t listen to music and write at the same time. I get so distracted by lyrics. But I do create playlists that I listen to when I’m working on a project. There are so many for The Man Test like Little Lies by Anna Ternheim and Don’t Stop Believing by Journey. The most notable would be Hazy by Rosi Golan and William Fitzsimmons. If The Man Test were a film, Hazy would be the feature song.
Can you describe The Man Test in 10 words or less?
Can a heartbroken couples therapist prove all men are cheaters?
Where did you get the idea for this book?
I’ll never forget when it happened. In April 2008, I was working in a real estate office, and all of the sudden I was struck with inspiration. I quickly wrote down the barebones outline (girl is heartbroken, girl meet boy, etc.). It was like the idea came just for me from the universe or God. I had to write it.
Are any of the characters based off of people you know?
Truth be told, I have a few characters loosely based on people I know. The characters are exaggerated versions of those people. They know who they are . . .
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
Yes, I think many women, and men too, have been in a situation where they’ve become suspicious of their partner’s fidelity. You are not alone. I hope The Man Test will allow readers to live vicariously through Marin’s experience and bring some light to a dark topic. Happy Reading!
About the Author
Amanda Aksel is an author with an affinity for love. Becoming a couple’s therapist was her “backup” career, and after completing her BA in Psychology she was on her way to solving love's most complicated quandaries one couple at a time. The Man Test is Amanda’s debut novel, and now she plans to solve love's most complicated quandaries one novel at a time.