I Just Want My Pants Back

(No Series)

Jason Strider is a twentysomething young man with an English degree from an Ivy League university, a very small apartment in New York, a vapid job as a receptionist at a casting agency—and no particular idea what to do with his life. On most evenings he gets stoned and goes out, sometimes with his long-time best friend and wingman Tina and sometimes alone, if not to get laid then at least to get hammered enough to really regret it the next day and be late for work.

Then one night Jason has athletic, appliance-assisted intercourse with a cute girl named Jane—and ends up lending her his favorite Dickies jeans. Many unanswered e-mails and text messages later, he is reduced to the plaint “I just want my pants back.” How he does, in a most unexpected way, find those pants and how he is forced to face his immaturity—and mortality—are at the heart of this smart, raunchily comic and deeply affecting novel.

Interesting drama, quite funny, but the theme and morality of the story was deep and serious.Rosen's debut novel involves a young man on his own in the big city, not ready for a relationship but still desiring female companionship and the accompanying perks. He has big dreams of improving his career - just later, right now trying to ward off hangovers and make his time to work every day at a casting agency, his "temporary" place of employment. Surrounded by close friends and sweet neighbors, Jason is this generation’s example of immaturity encasing an all-around good guy. While he enjoys those quick lays, he's still seeking continuance with women. I'm not used to reading too many coming-of-age novels from a man's perspective, but I found it an easier shoe to slip into than I thought. It's helped by Jason being so completely human and normal in terms of common anxieties.

The story would not have been nearly as good if not for Rosen’s astounding writing and humorous turns of phrases. Hilarious touches of inner reflection match equally witty dialogue, and the refreshing style makes turning these pages a breeze. It’s easy to get lost in the world of quick IMs, late-night bar adventures, neighbor smoke-outs and quick fridge sex. His outlook on life is cute, in an adolescent drug-soaked sort of way. Even if he doesn't always make the best decisions, Jason is decently bright, cute and quirky, and just fun. While the end of the book doesn’t demonstrate a blossoming development of his character, it does signify change and slight growing up.

While I did enjoy this book immensely because of the character and wonderful writing, there isn't enough of a plot to warrant over 200 pages. Time passes but without much happening in terms of new developments, other than the protagonist drifting deeper into alcohol and irresponsibility. Friends of his mature and reach the turning point more swiftly than Jason does, but that's okay, because it's clear we don't all evolve the same. The ending is sad, but in a bittersweet, promising way. Jason is just one of the characters it's easy to love; even when he's making decidedly dumb decisions, you still want to watch it all happen because it's Jason doing it. He's the type of guy you'd just love to have as a friend, though not necessarily as a boyfriend.

If you enjoy novels of this ilk, picking this one up should be a no-brainer. While it could have done with more plot development, it's still a fun thing. Deeper than it seems, but you have to consciously dig to find those layers. And just what is up with the bizarre title? It's worth reading to find out if Jason does, finally, get those sought-after pants back.

   Book Quotes:

“This was a side effect of partying that my friends and I called “The Fear.” Mild paranoia was just a touch of The Fear, hardly worth bothering with; a full dose really came the morning after, a bottomless pit of regret and shame fueled by drugs, alcohol, lack of sleep, and the insidious feeling that you had somehow just fucked up monumentally. I had learned to live with The Fear, but we were not very good roommates and I believed he was using my toothbrush.”