Monday, January 30, 2012


To say our reviews were mixed for this book would be an understatement.  There were those of us who couldn't put it down and others who forced ourselves to finish.   The debate wasn't heated, which can happen when views are so very split on a book.  However, some of the things that one member would call out as frustrating someone else would claim to have appreciated.

We all agree that Jonathan Franzen is a much better writer than our last author, but quite a few of us are weary about reading yet another book describing the angst of (comparably) wealthy middle class white people.   The word bourgeois was actually used in describing the story (not by this re-caper, 'bourgeois' and 'repleat'  are not terms that roll of my fingers or tongue in general conversation. )

The story centers around a trio of people who are in a complicated, but predictable love triangle.  He's a rock star, she's a former collegiate athlete and our other hero is the 'safe and normal guy'' that girls marry.  Throw in some corrupt government contracts, a plot to save a specific bird in exchange for mining rights and you know that no one is happy.  Love is a strong word... their lives are intertwined in an uncomfortable way.

We, as a group, are not put off by unlikable characters, and these did fall mostly into that category.  However, there were glimmers of brilliance in how the characters evolved.  We all tended to appreciate the (forgive me) 'curmudgeonization' of one of the characters who makes it his life mission to rid his neighborhood of free ranging cats.  As someone who is completely obsessed with my idiot neighbors who can't manage their garbage bins, I think everyone should embrace their inner hostile neighbor tendencies from time to time.  Granted, stabbing the tires of the slutty neighbors boyfriend's car is a bit much, but we all have to select our own limits.

While this novel was only mildly well received I think it is important to note that while it did not garner any votes for Favorite book of 2011, it also did not receive any of the dreaded "least favorite" votes.

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