Ashley's Reviews > Man Of The House

Man Of The House by Stephen McCauley
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May 12, 10

Read from May 11 to 12, 2010, read count: 1

This was a title that caught my eye while walking through the library stacks, so I literally had no idea what to expect. First the positive: I love McCauley's writing style. I felt like I was reading Literature with a capital 'L'. The narrator's descriptions and wry observations were humorous and evocative. The recipe thread running through the novel was hilarious. Now the negatives (note the plural): Every character in the book was dysfunctional, several of them extremely so. When you add in the enormous weight of the under-achievement, personality problems, daddy issues, and homosexuality the whole books sinks below the bar for comedy and ends up a lot closer to quiet tragedy. Not that I have a problem with that, but I would've liked an ending with more positive change than simple recognition. The characters, even the narrator, were difficult to care about because their lives were just so pointless (and pathetic). The lack of maturity in every single character (except the kids, ironically), including the narrator, was really irritating to try to identify with. I'm conflicted in my feelings about this book, but I'm glad I picked it up. The writing was terrific, but the characters and lack of a plot definitely held it back. ;)
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