Sunday, July 31, 2011

House of Sand and Fog and detergent and wax

My Saturday was full of super adult things. I went to the gym; cleaned bathrooms; washed every single part of my bed situation (not just sheets, my friends, but comforters and mattress covers!); shopvac'ed everything in the garage, including inside my car, including the shop vac itself!; and washed and waxed my car (I must tell Dad, he will be so proud!). While I did these things in a sweaty tank top and shorts, I thought (1) there won't be a Saturday outfit post and (2) next week I will completely fail to be an adult (you've read this hysterical post from Hyperbole and a Half, right?).

Since you don't get to see my outfit, I will give you this instead:
Left to right: Uggs, Luxury Rebel, Vince Camuto that?, you're wondering. It's several things. (1) My warning to you that today's the last day of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, where they have next season's things on sale. These boots were all purchased on sale. (2) Just a picture of my new boots. I can't wait for fall! (3) My favorite spread in the last Nordstrom catalog. The gray boots are in outfit 2, the black middle boots are in outfit 4. (4) Erm, my mattress without the mattress cover. It was being washed at the time. Proof! That I am an adult.

I will also give you this: My review of House of Sand and Fog by Andres Dubus III. I gave it 3 out of  stars, a solid "I like it" rating.

You know what's weird? I thought I would hands-down love this book, but I just feel okay about it. Slow start, middle sucked me in and I sped through, then it sloooooowed down again when it was supposed to be a suspenseful, then explosive, then sad ending.

The writing is good. The plot is interesting and realistic. The book and characters are set up in such a way that we are able to see all viewpoints--finally, Burdon, I kept waiting to hear from you. Then when I did I felt like, eh, I could have done without you. You are the most annoying one of them all. Annoying? Yes, annoying. Because while the book is set up that I guess I'm supposed to feel all of them, meh, I was pretty much on the colonel's side. I am not down with him when he is beating up on people nor with his final act, but I can sympathize much, much more with him. Hello? Have you been banished from your country and worked as a trashman for years seeeeecretly just so your ungrateful daughter can marry some respectable dude, then finally, finally see the solution (I will buy this cheap bungalow! And sell it for a tidy profit!), only to have everybody come down on you, when they don't even know the whole story? Because I imagine that is not a fun situation. Not at all.

And Kathy. Yes, this was her home. It was her father's. She doesn't want to disappoint her family. Yaddayadda. But I am thinking that the colonel is correct that girlfriend should have just sued the county for (1) what the house was worth, (2) how much she spent on hotel's and storage, and (3) emotional distress. And she could have lived an okay life. Sure, her family might have been disappointed in losing the house. But girlfriend has been through a crazy life of drugs and rehab. I think they'll most likely just be happy that she's (1) still clean and (2) has some cash and (3) is now going to live with a man with a decent J-O-B. Instead she sets herself and her cop boyfriend on the path to FAILURE.

So Kathy annoyed me, but she was clearly a mess. Her motivations and actions, while annoying, I felt were still understandable. Our friend Detective Burdon though is ridiculous. Look, guy, I feel you--sometimes you make a mistake and instead of just owning up to it, you try to "fix" it, instead digging yourself into a deeper hole. But good God, you should be the most mature, sane, unbiased person in this entire story. Instead you turn out to be the person most unable to pull his head out of his own ass. For the entire ending of the book. Everything is  your fault.

The ridiculousness of Burdon slowed down the novel for me, and made the book so completely unrealistic that it was painful. Maybe I needed more backstory on Burdon? Not, Oh, his father left the family and he grew up in a tough neighborhood and his wife wasn't as fiery anymore. Not enough, Dubus III, not enough.


  1. great boots and another year i missed the sale!

  2. You'll have to go to another sale when fall's over with. Also, I just got something in the mail about a Nordstrom Rack sale!