My Old Man

The New York Post

The ‘Old Man’ & the scene
by Choire Sicha

Amy Sohn writes a regular column in New York magazine. Until recently, it was a single girl’s guide to Manhattan, and it was awful. Then she got married, and it got worse. But fellow haters of Ms. Sohn’s dreaded columns should be advised – this book is different.
“My Old Man,” her second novel, is largely fantastic – funny, nasty, explicit, and smart. Rachel Block, a mid-20s rabbinical student, drops out due to a Philip Rothian crisis of faith and gets a job barteding in fast-gentrifying Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, the neighborhood in which she grew up. (Is there anything sadder than a New York City girl who still lives within screaming distance of her neurotic parents?)
Rachel begins dating Hank Powell, the “Queens Godard,” a truly heinous and ill-mannered avant-garde filmmaker twice her age. He’s got the women issues – and the hairline – of real-life misanthrope Neil LaBute. Rachel throws herself onto him like she’s impaling herself on a pike.
What she doesn’t know is that when men describe themselves to women, they really mean it. They’re not speaking in riddles or code. When Powell says, “I am not in any shape to be shackling myself to a woman right now,” what he means is “I think being with you would be like being in prison.” But Rachel is so busy searching for meaning in Powell’s words, she misses their meaning.
Once, after she pleads with him for sex, he says, “Rachel, it’s good not to do it sometimes. It means I respect you.”
Her comeback? “Couldn’t you respect me a little bit less?” No, probably not.
Meanwhile, she learns way more about her father than she needs to, because he starts sleeping with her best friend. Really foul double-dating ensues, ratcheting up a psychosexual father-daughter complex the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Sylvia Plath didn’t sleep with her father.