The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter
Published in 2009
General Fiction
304 pages

* * * * * Best Book of 2009 According to Time Magazine * * * * *

Perhaps a spoiler or two about general plot...

Unfortunately, many people across the country find themselves in the same position as suburban husband and wife Matt and Lisa. The money is running out, the couple is about to lose their home, Lisa may or may not be cheating on Matt with a lumber expert, Matt decides to begin dealing drugs to make extra money, and the senile grandfather proclaims his love of chipped beef and "The Rockford Files" on a regular basis from the living room.

Okay, so maybe some of us can identify with the money component and the sense of desperation and exasperation...hopefully not much more beyond that.

I absolutely loved the first 2/3 of the book, but then slowly found myself losing interest in the story. Matt has a fantastic sense of humor - a mixture of cynicism and sarcasm sprinkled with wit that made him very likable for me, and that is ultimately what kept me reading. Yes, I did want to know the fate of this young couple and their sons, but it just felt like the last act was detached from the rest of the book.

The poems were quirky and fun; I love when novelists go outside the box a little.



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