Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter: A Review

The Financial Lives of the PoetsThe Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved Beautiful Ruins (one of my favorite books of the summer), and Walter's backlist (thus far) does not disappoint.

This book should be depressing, but it's not. Who would have thought that a book set during the country's descent into The Great Recession could be laugh-out-loud funny? I was pretty skeptical.

Matt (our hero) is a former business reporter who gave up his job to pursue his dream of creating a website dedicated to business news given in poetic form ( However, the website never got off the ground, and after returning to his job, the economy bottomed out and he was laid off. The housing market also crashed, and jobless, he was talked into filing for forbearance. We meet Matt, our hero, six days before he will lose his house if he is unable to come up with a $31,000 balloon payment (and with $9,400 to his name). In addition to these dire financial straits, his wife has begun an online flirtation with an old flame. On the precipice of homelessness, financial ruin, and losing his wife to a guy named Chuck, Matt goes out to the 7-11 one night for milk and meets his the form of two drug dealers.

I'll let you experience the rest of this one on your own. You'll be glad you did.

While Beautiful Ruins had greater depth...this novel is equally riveting and heart-breaking and funny. Walter's characters are just terrific.

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