But The Washington Post seems more tuned into my way of thinking about it:
This tepid satire about modern America begins with Richard Novak, a wealthy day trader, having a panic attack and being rushed to the hospital with "incredible pain" all over his body: "He lay there realizing how thoroughly he'd removed himself from the world or obligations, how stupidly independent he'd become: he needed no one, knew no one, was not part of anyone's life. He'd so thoroughly removed himself from the world of dependencies and obligations, he wasn't sure he still existed."
That existential crisis could lead to great pathos or great comedy, but over the next 300 pages, Richard meanders through a series of chance encounters, reaching out with new interest and generosity to strangers who never become much more than their costumes. There's the Middle Eastern owner of a donut shop, the housewife crying in the grocery store, the handsome movie star, the reclusive '60s novelist. Richard befriends them all with low-key good cheer and somehow manages to change his life completely with about as much effort as I've expended switching shampoos.
I can only agree. If I'd bought a few of the delicious-looking donuts that appear on the book's cover, my money would have been better spent.