Thursday, September 06, 2007

Love, Work, Children by Cheryl Mendelson

I like books that are character-driven, but this book was so focused on characters that the plot disappeared. Really, nothing happens in this book, except a few people date and get married. Someone has a car accident at the beginning, but she spends almost the rest of the book in a coma, so that kind of cancels out the drama of the accident. This is the talkiest book I've ever read. In addition to chatting, people read the newspaper a lot, and sit around and listen to NPR.

Mendelson's first book in this series is Morningside Heights. I read that earlier this year and loved it. Love, Work, Children is also set in Morningside Heights, and includes some of the characters from the previous book (including the delightful Braithwaite family) but mostly focuses on a different set of people who are not nearly as enjoyable. These new characters do a lot of congratulating themselves on how special they are, and it's clear that they don't really want to be around anyone who isn't just like them (that is, privileged, white, educated, rich). Is this supposed to be a farce? Is Mendelson making fun of these people? If so, she does it so subtly that I wasn't sure. I couldn't decide if I was supposed to laugh at these characters or just hate them. They are the most smug, self-absorbed group of people I've encountered in a while. Mendelson should just ditch these folks and bring back the Braithwaites and their delightfully quirky friends.

(Book 38, 2007)


Post a Comment