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A Regular Guy

About the Book

A Regular Guy

Tom Owens is an ex-hippie entrepreneur whose biotechnology firm, Genesis, has made him a multi-millionaire while still a young man. Jane is the daughter he has never met because when she was conceived he was synthesizing the protein that was to make his fortune. When his nineteen-year-old girlfriend Mary told him she was pregnant, he replied, "I can't have a baby now, Mare. . . . I've just started something." [p. 13] Ten years later, poor and unable to cope with her daughter alone, Mary decides to send Jane to her father. She teaches Jane how to drive, specially adapting their truck so that Jane can reach the gas pedal, brake, and steering wheel. The ragged girl, having driven all through the night, is found outside Owens's mansion by his friend Noah Kaskie, who takes up Jane's cause with her father. While Owens is reluctant to admit that Jane is his daughter, he sends for Mary and sets them up in a cottage near his home on a paltry allowance of three hundred dollars a month.

Gradually Jane insinuates her way into Tom's life, though she and her mother remain at the mercy of his odd ideas and his blindness to the needs of those around him. The novel presents us with an array of other characters whose lives circle around Owens--Noah, the brilliant biologist confined to a wheelchair, whose strongest desire is to be loved; Olivia, Tom's beautiful and long-suffering girlfriend; Julie, the lawyer whose true desire is for the domestic life. These and others create the world that Jane inhabits as she tries to find her way into her father's heart. Their interconnected lives create the web of a deeply satisfying novel that explores the relationship between such central life issues as love, community, ambition, and money.

A Regular Guy
by Mona Simpson

  • Publication Date: October 15, 1997
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN-10: 0679772715
  • ISBN-13: 9780679772712