Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: Music for Torching

Music for Torching
Music for Torching by A.M. Homes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall this is a very good book. I like the way it's written. Another book about dysfunctional marriages- I'm in a dysfunctional marriage-book rut. A suburban couple with two kids live in a very close knit community- all the neighbors rotate and have all the couples over for dinner every week, all the kids friends are in the same neighborhood and all the husband seems to work in NY. Most of the married couples are perfect and our main characters are far from it. Paul and Elaine feel trapped, their in a rut and decide burning their house down will be the best way out of it. This backfires - well actually there's a lack of fire and the house instead just gets minimally damaged, the rest of the book finds them staying with the perfect couple in the neighborhood and their kids staying with their best friends.

While the fire is the main plot point that drives the book, everything that follows it is so minor. Sure the spouses are cheating, but they don't have guilt about it, sure their kids are kinda little shits, but no one really calls them on it. It's a very interesting look at suburban life that makes you feel like you're intruding on your friends uncomfortable fight. Like a burning house, you can't look away cause you don't know what's going to happen next, will the fire be contained or will it move on to the next house and devour another family.

Elaine is the more screwed up character although both have serious issues and probably shouldn't be allowed to be parents. But Elaine is so desperate for change that she tries anything she can to get out of her normal shell. Paul's affair seems pretty real and typical, nothing too exciting there. But overall you feel like this is just a simple story of two people experiencing a midlife crisis at the same time- both are scared that their life is stale, but luckily they also both agree to try to fix it.

The last section of the book takes a huge step in another direction and I was pretty shocked by the action, then the end leaves you totally high and dry and you're left to wonder what the resolution is. Overall a really good book where very little actually happens.

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