January212012

Book Nerddom

I have recently (within the last few months) joined two book swapping sites online, and have amassed quite a lovely collection of classics, romance, horror, and non-fiction books. My bookwormishness is tingling with excitement. I’ve been reading a lot lately, and drinking my weight in green tea, as well. Those two things go so well together, tea and books, that it just seems natural I would want to stay like that all day long, household chores be damned. If only….
I just finished (four hours ago) House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus, III, and while I may lose respect, followers, or friendlies over this, I must write the truth; I greatly disliked this novel. I finished it only because I cannot not finish a book. It goes against my bookworm code of conduct.
The basic plot is this: Kathy, a recovering addict, is wrongfully evicted from her home, which was given her by her now deceased father. Behrani is an exiled Iranian officer who buys Kathy’s house at auction. When he discovers that Kathy was indeed wronged by the County, refuses to sell back the house for anything less than twice the amount he paid for it. Enter Lester Burdon, the Deputy Sheriff saddled with the unhappy task of giving Kathy her walking papers. He feels an immediate connection to Kathy and quickly falls in love with her, despite, or because of, her faults. He also happens to be married, with two small younglings, and has a dark past to contend  with.
The novel jumps back and forth between Behrani’s and Kathy’s point of view, and while Behrani’s situation is a sad one, Kathy just seems like an immature woman who expects things to happen just because she wants them to.
The narrative is interesting enough, I suppose, to keep me reading to the end, although after the eighth time the author mentions that a character is drinking a Coke, it begins to feel like a really long advertisement for the Coca-Cola Company.
I am in no way a prude, but I was rather put off by the way the author described the sexual encounters between Kathy and Les. His choice of wording made the act of making love seem needlessly dirty and wrong. Also, for reasons I’m still trying to find, he interjected sexual language into the day-to-day goings on of the characters. It just didn’t sit right with me.
I requested this book from one of the borrowing sites because I had heard so many good things about it, and saw they had made a movie of it, as well. I haven’t seen the movie, nor do I plan to, and having read the novel, I’m all set with rehashing through all the shit that goes on between the two main characters. Do I recommend this book to anyone? Perhaps if you enjoy being dragged through people’s dirty laundry piles, all the while itching to have a cigarette (even if you don’t smoke) every time Kathy lights up (which is whenever she’s awake), you would enjoy this novel. Otherwise, my advice is don’t waste your time with it. It really did leave a funny taste in my mouth.
**Off to read some Ray Bradbury and redeem myself as a bookphile. Peace, and happy reading to you all. :)

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