Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Too Nice a Guy? is a contemporary fiction novel written by Keith David Harris. Kevin Whidbey’s life hadn’t turned out exactly how he had hoped it would. He had married the gorgeous girl he fell in love with, graduated from law school, passed the bar and gotten a position as an attorney. They had two children that he was crazy about. And though those things alone might have been sufficient for many, Kevin knew something was missing. There was the multi-million dollar house that they really couldn’t afford, but that his wife, Jessica, had insisted upon. Her reluctance to return to work made keeping up with those payments even more daunting a prospect than it had seemed at first. Jessica’s answer to the money crunch was to subject him to an endless round of social evenings of networking as part of her ambitious strategy to get him a better paying job. She didn’t seem to understand, or care, that he might actually like his job or want to spend some of those evenings at home, spending time with their son and daughter. Instead, he found himself driving an endless succession of babysitters home after they spent time with his kids, and he had suffered through yet another social gathering. His college friend, Lisa, who had actually introduced the two of them, knew there were problems but found it impossible to get through to Jessica. It took two sisters, Miriam and Tammy Connors, who Kevin came to know through their babysitting, to help Kevin realize that he was desperately unhappy with his home life. Seeing how the five orphaned Connors children loved and supported each other as a family made his own life seem empty in comparison.
Keith David Harris’s contemporary fiction novel, Too Nice a Guy?, is an engaging and thought-provoking tale about family, values and cultural identities. As I read this well-written tale, I quickly found myself sympathetic to Kevin’s woes, especially when he is forced to stop his abrasive wife from getting a young waitress fired over a simple mistake. Jessica’s attitude, her screaming at the children, and endless conniving to make Kevin enter a bigger earnings bracket pose such marked contrasts to the simple wisdom of the two elder Connor girls. Harris does a superb job of building the tension in this tale which revolves around these very different characters and the contrasts between the lives of the Whidbeys and the Connors. I came to care about all of the characters Harris creates, even just a little for the awful Jessica, and enjoyed reading this story about life and second chances. Too Nice a Guy? is highly recommended.