by Thomas Duffy

"Every girl had their ideals they wanted in a man and Phillip knew he had practically nothing to give a woman. All he could offer was his heart and companionship."

Phillip Doherty is reaching a pivotal time in his life where the need to feel more established, both professionally and personally, is greater than ever. Nearing 40-years-old, he begins to take inventory of his life and discovers that he has fallen drastically behind in his ability to compete in the marketplace, despite possessing an English degree. Having spent his career in retail, Phillip is struggling to rise up from his position of stockboy at Milton's World of Fun, a New York City literary-themed store. Desperate to find romantic prospects, he ventures into the realm of online dating and meets Melissa, a successful law professional, and senses an immediate connection. Fearing rejection, he tells her that he is a teacher. Once he spoke the lie, he couldn't take it back without revealing his real occupation and more lies become necessary to keep Melissa from learning the truth.

In this relatable tale of how to overcome disappointment and the fear of failure, the author explores the journey to achieve financial comfort and happiness in a competitive workforce. New York City is the ideal backdrop for this underdog story that provides the opportunity to witness a bevy of characters confront the obstacles of daily living while pursuing more profitable employment. Phillip's quiet ambition and optimism drive the plot as he tries desperately to gain the respect of management and his peers. However, his insecurity and expectations for a different outcome while repeatedly taking the same actions, leaves the reader exasperated. The author scripts the novel's theme of perseverance and self-discovery through a simple to navigate narrative, balancing the characters' strengths and weaknesses with authenticity. In the end, it is Phillip's ability to value his own truth that is his greatest accomplishment.

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