As Always, Dave
Deseret Book, 2007
As Dave Beckstrom comes home from his mission, he finds life is not
going how he expected it to; it has moved on in unforeseen ways. Abbie
Tucker, the girl that he assumed would be waiting for him to return
home, is now on the other side of the country employed as a New York
nannie. As life moves on, Dave tries to find the comfortable life that
was to be waiting for him in Ririe, Idaho.
Dave sets out for New York to see if he can convince Abbie to come home
and pick up where they left off before his mission. Little does Dave
know that Abbie is dating someone else and has no plans to return to
Idaho and the small town life of Ririe. As he lands in New York, his
reintroduction to Abbie is somewhat of a shock. Not only has she
changed her physical appearance, but her attitude and demeanor are much
harsher and abrupt than Dave remembers.
The first thing that Abbie asks Dave to do is lie. She doesn’t want her
boyfriend, Eldon, to know that the two of them used to date.
Furthermore, Abbie has told the Singles Ward that Dave is her cousin.
While he isn’t happy about Abbie’s lies, he agrees to go along with her
plan. During his visit he shares the apartment of pre-med student,
Nathan. At the first activity that the ward is holding, Nathan gives
Dave advice, “I just listen to them. More than anything they just need
a listening ear….If you want to make a lot of friends tonight, just
listen. ….It’s harder than you might think. Most guys, when they talk
to a girl who has a problem, want to tell her what to do. But don’t do
it. Just listen.” (pg. 22 )
It doesn’t take long before the truth about Dave’s relationship to Abbie
is exposed. Kissing your ‘cousin’ might not be the best idea. Dave
begins to realize that convincing Abbie that they should pick up their
relationship back in Idaho where they left off before he went on his
mission is going to take more time than a quick visit. He decides to
move in with Nathan and then gets a job at the Ace Hardware Store. Life
goes on, just not in the way Dave would like it to.
Dave now has several women in his life and is trying build a
relationship and to find balance and love with one of them. However,
all of the women have different plans for their ‘love lives’ and
consider Dave as their best ‘guy’ friend. They come to him with their
problems and seeking advice and comfort. Dave is determined to stick to
Nathan’s ‘No kissing rule’, even if it kills him.
As characters come into the plot line, they all have some sort of a tie
to Dave. The girls find love with guys that he knows or seemingly
random guys find love with the girls that he knows. This makes for some
monotonous reading. The majority of the beginning of the book deals
with Dave’s lack of a love life and how he seems to help everyone else
find one. In this process Dave seems to reinvent himself to fit into
several different roles and relationships.
The author paints a vivid picture from a ’guys’ perspective that seems
to be over simplistic and exaggerated at the same time. It was
interesting to see the author’s version of how ‘Mormon’ boys feel about
relationships, cars, friends, dating and a host of other issues. While
it was a nice read, this is one book that only gets a lack luster