Friday, October 5, 2012

The Financial Lives of Poets by Jess Walters
Obviously, going back to the classroom, after a summer of delirious reading, the time to pleasure-read has been cut down in a serious way.  However, thanks to the SSR time at Bellingham High School, I have been able to plow through a couple of books.  After reading Jess Walter's book Beautiful Ruins this summer (see review below) and falling in love with his eclectic group of characters, quirky plot line, and beautiful Italian setting, I figured his first book might be a similar love.  While I did love it, the word 'similar' is not exactly the right word.  In fact, if I hadn't seen his name as the author, I would never have guessed that the same man wrote The Financial Lives of Poets.
This book is a meanly hilarious look at the financial crisis of 2008 and beyond.  The main character is pretty much a loser...failed news reporter who decides that the best way to be an entrepreneur is to start an online financial advice column.  However, his reporting involves the advice in a poetic format, because of course, that's financially viable.  His next brilliant idea is to become a pot dealer to support his wife and two boys.  Thanks to some bumbling hood rats and snarky policemen, it does create for some hilarious moments.  Then, throw in a possibly unfaithful wife who has a TV shopping addiction, her ex-high school sweetheart otherwise known as Prince Chuck, a dementia-riddled father who only wants to watch the Rockford Files and make crude jokes about the television anchorwomen, and you've got some humorous moments.  However, some poignant ones also exist, along with some valid questions about life do we create meaning when our expectations don't line up with our reality? This is a thought-provoking, timely, and entertaining book.

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