Virginia Fay is an English sophomore and her book column "Sweet Story Scribbler" will appear in the online edition.

We all have dreams for our future, but I would guess that none of them involve working for an abrasive boss and giving up on the idea of love by age 30. But this is just the case for Oscar Campbell, the main character in Nicholas Weinstock’s “As Long as She Needs Me.”

Oscar Campbell, you ask? Yes, another twist to this novel. Though the plot is inherently geared toward female readers, the protagonist is a man. “As Long as She Needs Me” follows Oscar’s career as the assistant to Dawn of Dawn Books, a demanding and hostile boss à la Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada,” only substituting a book publishing company for a fashion magazine.

Dawn is a thoroughly unlovable character for the majority of the story, yet Oscar caters to her every need, even going so far as to plan her wedding to the despicable Gordon Fox, which is where we get into the real meat of the story.

Oscar has all but given up on a personal life of his own and has resigned himself to a lifetime of following Dawn’s orders with little else in the way of relationships, until he meets Lauren LaRose, a wedding columnist, at a college roommate’s wedding.

Lauren and Oscar are both outsiders, both unhappy in their jobs and both on the brink of giving up on true love forever. Though the two instantly hit it off, Oscar is sworn to secrecy about whose wedding he is really planning, which forces him to carry on a charade of planning his own wedding.

Oscar strikes a deal with Lauren for him to edit her columns in exchange for her help in wedding planning. He grows increasingly enamored with her over reading her columns and she becomes more and more despondent over her belief of his taken state.

Both Oscar and Lauren manage to give off the impression of being outsiders and still remain very relatable. Oscar has such an earnest, wry character that it’s impossible not to like him, and Lauren’s sweet, down-to-earth nature makes them a perfect match.

Though I was rooting for them to be together from day one, I couldn’t decide where in the story they actually figured out they were supposed to be together. They had continuous communication throughout the first half of the novel, but after they share a fateful, forced kiss, they cease to communicate because of Lauren’s guilt over her belief that he is engaged.

Even though they stop talking, it is supposed to be clear that they have fallen in love at some point, without ever actually dating or sharing any kind of real relationship. This made the rest of the novel a little hard to buy into, but if you can get on board with the notion that love does not require a courting period, then it is otherwise a sweet story.

Weinstock’s writing is fitting for a character such as Oscar whose life, as a book editor, revolves around words, but for any other storyline, the extended metaphors and dry irony would not fit in so well. While the main characters were spot-on, and there were other screwball characters that won my heart as well, many of the supporting characters felt underdeveloped and over-the-top.

Though I’m sure the exaggeration of wild rockstar-turned-author, gossiping PR director and slimeball fiance-slash-business exec, to name a few, were meant to satirize the book industry, the failure to develop their characters past the very surface made them seem less than intelligent. Weinstock’s excessive feeding into stereotypes made the writing seem a little lazy, which was unfortunate, since the rest of the novel was a truly enjoyable and charming love story with an offbeat, understated humor hard to resist.

Telling the story from a man’s point of view lent an edge that enabled “As Long as She Needs Me” to be different from other books in the genre. Despite a few weaknesses, the novel was altogether an engaging read on the nature of what it means to put your job before your own life and when it’s time to switch up your priorities.

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