Love at Absolute Zero. But the question is, can he really?
We spend the whole novel with Gunnar, a 32-year-old physics professor at the University of Wisconsin trying to find out. Early in the novel, Gunnar is granted tenure and decides it's time to find a wife. Luckily, that same day, he runs into a high school crush, and he's certain they are meant to be together. But alas, she has a boyfriend -- she met at a speed dating event. And so Gunnar decides to try speed dating as well (that's some impenetrable logic, if I've ever heard it), but not before he does some serious self-renovation. And then, of course, things go a bit awry.
Gunnar's an infuriating fellow -- you often want to reach into the novel and slap him around. But his missteps are hilarious, and it makes for a goofy, lighthearted read. To be fair, this novel's never going to win a Pulitzer Prize, and Meeks won't soon be confused with Philip Roth. Indeed, much of the comedy in the novel is probably unintentional on Meeks' part -- like a sex scene described thusly: "Their hands again traced each other. With fingers and oral stimulation, they satisfied each other." That's giggle-worthy on a number of levels.
But you know what? Overall, I liked it. Gunnar sure is a dumbass, but he's definitely of the "lovable loser" variety. And he learns from his mistakes, which is a commendable quality in a protagonist, even one as ignorant in matters of the heart as Gunnar is. Overall, it's a breezy read not to be taken too seriously, because, really, it can't be.