The story of Scott, an egocentric New Yorker, and his attempt to complete the New York City marathon. As he runs the streets during the coldest race day ever, his mind travels a path of its own, revisiting the dozen lovers who have passed through his life. Some he cannot outrun, others have left him behind, one might be his new wife, one is lost forever.
"God's Gift to Women reminds me of Nick Hornsby's High Fidelity--except instead of a tale about a man's obsession with music, we get a book about a man's obsession with the opposite sex. I'd call this novel "guy lit" but it's too smart, too knowing, too literary for that. Really, it's a 30-something male's coming of age story. Anyone of either sex who feels confounded by love, dating and what it all ultimately means will love this book."
--Paula Derrow, editor, Behind the Bedroom Door
"Stanford Friedman's book is full of insight into what makes the modern male tick. The struggle between freedom and commitment, alienation and love, is brought forth in prose that delights with its mellifluous delicacy. God's Gift to Women is also very funny, at time even slapstick, with a fine ear for how men and women communicate---or fail to--today."
--Nancy Jo Sales, Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair
With 28,000 people trying to navigate a bridge simultaneously, there is not much to be found in the way of speed. He has calculated that the first mile will take him about twice his average time as this crowd of the underdressed maneuvers its way into the shape of a spirited race. The marathon is 26.2 miles with the .2 coming at the start. How harmless a figure it seems when he reads it in print, the small numeral to the right of the decimal, the insignificance of what follows a period. But for Scott it is another proof that nothing stops where one expects it. He could say a life, a race, a love, ends here at an X, but there is always more, some runover, pushing its way into reality. That after any conversation there is something left hanging in the silence.
And that extra may be significant or it may be random. The .2 of the marathon is a holdover from the 1908 Olympics in London. The distance added so the racers could start at Windsor Castle in the presence of the Queen and end up at White City Stadium for the masses. For that whim it is Scott who must pay the price of the here and now length, which seems so small but moves so slowly. In truth, the number is quite large, 385 yards in all, nearly four football fields to do little more than assume a brisk walking pace while trying to keep his thoughts from getting ahead of him. He exhales deeply and watches his breath take form in the cold air, linger, then rise. It is the 26th running of what he and Wendy have euphemized as "this prestigious event" and, always a lover of lists, he tries to recall the statistics he memorized last night as she massaged his feet and quizzed him. The numbers that add up to an event, the minutia populi: 22,050 feet of rope, 13,000 gallons of Gatorade, 1,800,000 paper cups, 132,000 safety pins, 350 linguists, 642 tubes of K-Y jelly (for the post-race orgy, Scott imagined. He prefers good old Vaseline to lubricate his knees and elbows.), 13,700 No Parking signs, 33,000 heat retaining SpaceWrap blankets and four and a half tons of ice. Out of control, he thinks, as he feels his heel stepped upon by an older gentleman jockeying for position.