Thursday, June 21, 2007
Town House Book Review
TownHouse by Tish Cohen
Published May 2007
I blogged about this author, a week or so ago, and have just now finished reading the book. It turns out that this is Tish Cohen's first adult novel. She has previously published one children's story as well.
Anyway, going by the cover, I would have stopped to take a look, checked out the back cover (about an agrophobic who cant leave the house) and quickly put this book back on the shelf. It is so not my usual type of book.
So when I receive it in the mail, I know I have to make a decent attempt to read it. Guess what. I read it all the way through in 7 hours straight. Stayed up until 2am. I actually shocked myself when I surfaced to check the time.
It was funny, thought provoking, and the language was definitely no holds barred. I found the style of writing to be very refreshing actually.
The story is about Jack, who has been an agrophobic since his son was a baby. He has lived in his house since he was born there - that was 36 years before. Jack's father died in this house. Jack still lives in the past. The house is still exactly like it was when his father died. Nothing major has been renovated or repaired since that day. We also learn about the people in Jack's life - his teenage son, his ex-wife, the shrink, the bank manager, the real estate agent, and the girl from next door.
Harlan is now seventeen and in his last year of high school. He has a secret he hides from his father. Jack's wife Penelope left some time previously and also has some news that she is reluctant to tell Jack. The bank manager fore-closes on the mortgage and Jack has just a few weeks to come up with the outstanding balance or the house will be sold. Lucie, the kid from next door, literally pushes into Jack's house and starts meeting him for breakfast every day before school. She knows how to make a great pot of coffee.
Slowly one step at a time, Jack is forced to start living outside his house. He also begins to learn just how much he has really missed. And he learns that he likes living in the present. He had wanted things to stay the same, because bad things were always happening. But eventually he learns that change is inevitable - and not always bad.
The language and grammar of one's inner mind is so different from every day speech when we have to be careful about what we say, how we say it and who we say it to. But our inner minds are so free to say what we think. Thats how this book is written. Everything that Jack says, does, sees and reads, ends up on the pages of this book. Profanity and all. Freedom of speech - which thankfully is still available in the inner mind. That is why I read it straight through.
If you do not like reading profanity, then I would suggest you do not read this novel.