Jessica's Reviews > Rockville Pike: A Suburban Comedy of Manners

Rockville Pike by Susan Coll
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's review
Dec 22, 09

bookshelves: realistic, humour
Read in December, 2009

Sometimes, you pick up a book expecting just a light read, something to do between the Great Works of Literature you've been meaning to get around to, and you get to be pleasantly surprised by the fact that the book you've just picked up is one of the best (recent written) ones that you've read in a long time. I had the pleasure of having that experience with "Rockville Pike".

"Rockville Pike" was a great novel. It was funny, it was touching, and moreover, the author had obviously put a great deal of thought into the world of the novel. This isn't something you tend to think of realistic fiction authors as doing- after all, they get OUR world to play with, don't they?- but I think it is something that the best realistic fiction authors do. With the right combination of characters, setting, and tone, you can create for yourself a place and time that could easily exist in real life, yet which still stand out, making the book more than a mundane chronicle of something that could happen to anyone, but a miniature universe all by itself. The vaguely absurdist Rockville Pike, where everybody knows each other's business but nothing is quite as it seems, certaintly qualifies as that.

On top of which, well, Susan Coll is just a really great writer. I fell in love with her prose, and her postmodern style of referencing literary tropes, and her sly, dark sense of humour.

The only thing about the book I had a problem with was the character of Delia, who seemed confusing, unneeded, and rife with unfortunate implications. (I could get into that, but I won't.) If not for that subplot, I would have given the novel five stars. I loved it.

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12/09/2009 page 7
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