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Book Review of Mr. Unavailable & the Fallback Girl August 13, 2012

Posted by alwaysjan in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
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Several months ago some of my readers turned me on to Baggage Reclaim, a great relationship site out of the UK, which you’ll find on my blogroll. I find Natalie Lue’s writing on that site to be crisp, no nonsense, and on the money. She’s also got that Brit wit thing going for her. (Let’s face it – “shag” sounds so much more polite than the American translation.)

Natalie, who recently married and turned 35, spent her 20s as a “Fallback Girl” – accepting crumbs from guys who never seemed to have two feet in the door at the same time unless it was for a shag. Disappearing only to reappear as they knew the door was always open. She also played the part of the Other Woman. It wasn’t until she realized that the common denominator in all of these liaisons was… herself, that things began to click.

Mr. Unavailable & the Fallback Girl was first published as an eBook in 2008. I did not read this edition. The 2nd Edition is available as an eBook/book through Amazon and has been greatly “expanded.” Select bloggers were sent a complimentary eBook to read and review, so I’ve spent the last few sweltering days at my computer reading and taking notes.

Since most people who come to my blog are searching for information on Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), I want to say straight out that this is NOT a book about narcissism though Natalie does list the DSM’s diagnostic criteria. She fears too many are too eager to embrace this diagnosis as the excuse for why their relationship failed.

She points out that Narcissists are always emotionally unavailable, whereas, Mr. Unavailables are not necessarily narcissistic. And she makes it clear that if you are dealing with a Narcissist, you should not walk, but RUN as they wreak so much havoc in your life. She does provide a lot of information though as to why women seek out and stay with men who are clearly not emotionally available, so this could/would apply to some of you who seem to keep dating the same “type.” (That type being a man who is incapable of committing to a healthy relationship.)

I so wanted to love this book, but I’m afraid I’m only “in like” with it. Here’s why. Between the covers is probably all you need to know if you’re someone who has repeatedly hooked up with a guy who is just not that into you and you’re virtually trying to walk on water to convince him (either overtly or covertly) that you are The One.

But at 370 pages, the book is longer than either of the two Pulitzer Prize-winning novels I’ve read this summer. As I was reading it, I began to feel like I was going in loops. Maybe it was the heat? Reading it on the computer? It was like sitting in a movie and starting to look at your watch. Shouldn’t this have ended by now? Hey, I thought that WAS the ending.

Even the same clever phrases reappeared one too many times. And I found the number of typos annoying. At one point I thought the real Mr. Unavailable was an editor! I hate to sound snarky, but Natalie knows her stuff, so this had the potential to be a virtual bible for those who’ve struggled with creating healthy relationships.

At some point, all the clever monikers, e.g., Floggers, Stonewallers, Lobbyists, Bad Pennies, Dreamers, MIMS (for Miss Independent/Miss Self Sufficient) start to seem like too many people at a noisy party. I felt like I tuned into Game of Thrones mid-season and was confused as to who was who without Peter Dinklage to help me get my bearings. I needed  a flow chart to keep track.

Whenever Natalie returns to her personal narrative, however, the writing immediately becomes more compelling. She knows her stuff and to be sure there is great wisdom in this book, it’s just that sometimes less is more. This is such a case.

Do check out Baggage Reclaim for some of that Brit wit though.


1. kiwigal007 - August 13, 2012

Thanks Jan, I actually asked for a print version of the book to her PA, explaining that I am on my computer an awful lot of the time due to study and so she is sending me a printed copy. I came across that site last year when I was trying to uncover what a Narc really was and it even prompted me to tell C that I no longer wanted a relationship but he kept stringing it out until the following Feb this year when he then dropped his bombshell on me.

I look forward to reading this book when it arrives and will take note of what you have said. I did not realise Natalie was a wee bit younger than me as I asssumed she was a bit older. Nevertheless I should have this in my real mailbox hopefully very shortly and see what I may make of it then. Seems a bit odd that it has typos as that would drive me a bit potty after awhile…

Hi Shell,
I thought it was just me, so I went read some reviews on Amazon. There were many women who claimed that Natalie virtually “saved their lives.” But several also noted she started to repeat herself and cited the typos – like cow’s for cows. Little ones, but they stuck out like a sore thumb. It’s a bit like watching the director’s cut of a movie. You then appreciate how important a good editor is. But again, the information is all there and I think you’ll find it extremely helpful. I actually thought about you as I read it! Jan


2. Lesley - August 15, 2012

Hi there,
Think you know I’m a big subscriber to BR but I agree she is ‘punchier’ in the articles.The strength of her site is the women and men who post there and the tough love they give.
The’No Contact’ rule is a must and one of the mainstays of her philosophy and there’s actually a ‘No Contact’ reminder service for free for those who are serious about getting these Emotionally Unavailable/Narc people out of our lives.
Perhaps the toughest pill to swallow is that if you stay with one of these people or continue to pursue a relationship with them then you need to forget them and do the work on yourself!

Here’s her latest article;


This is so true! I was explaining to my friend last night about what a Fallback Girls was. He totally got it and by the end the evening was using this this term to describe several women he knew. Jan


3. Catherine Sherman - August 19, 2012

This book sounds like an informative read, despite the drawbacks. I should read some of the author’s articles, too.

I just watched this video again, and after I got over the novelty of how the song is performed, I listened to the words. I think that the song is about a Narcissist. What do you think? This is a cover of “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye. http://youtu.be/MsoRSI7ei4E

I’m afraid my commute to school is all of 7 minutes, but I listen to KROQ and they play this a lot. This video is absolutely BRILLIANT. “Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over, but had me believing it was always something that I’d done.” You don’t have to just listen to the words. Here are the lyrics for Somebody That I Used to Know.” rel=”nofollow”>lyrics for Somebody That I Used to Know.


Lesley - August 19, 2012

I love Gotye Catherine and would agree. Some of his other stuff actually hits at the Narcissism of society these days..
My big Narc song is Desperado by the Eagles all that ‘Jumpin at Fences’ and my Emotionally Unavailable Man one is Willie Nelson’s’ Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be Cowboys’….’they’re never at home and they’re always alone, even with someone they love…’
Sigh…Jan tell me to swot…I’m distracting myself with stuff I like rather than stuff I need to do!

Oh my vocabulary expands daily. Which swot are you? Urban Dictionary: swot


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