I laughed all the way through Being Anti-Social, award-winning author Leigh K. Cunningham’s second novel for adult readers.
I laughed not because this is the usual situation-comedy froth but because Cunningham’s main character, Mace Evans, chooses to see the humor in the “anti-social” life she’s created for herself—and perhaps enjoys more than she’s willing to admit.
I also laughed because I adore Oscar Wilde’s pithy contrarian aphorisms, which Cunningham sprinkles throughout her story like flowers cleverly positioned in an unusually wild garden.
Mace early on admits she regrets going along with my favorite Wildeism: “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” Her doing so—her affair with a man whose talent in bed she can’t help but admire—ends her marriage to Ben, a man she considers a “perfect husband.”
Will the fallen Mace find another man to replace Ben, or will she continue her “anti-social” life, so described by her condescending sister, to the end of her days?
Or is it so wrong to prefer such a life, in which Oscar’s witty—some might say “cynical”—remarks apply every step of the way?
Late in the story, observing another character who’s on a strict diet confronting a table laden with food as delectable as Cunningham’s novel, Mace can’t help but quote Oscar again: “I can resist everything except temptation.”
Yes, and I can resist everything except the temptation to read Cunningham’s next novel.