Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Available Light

By Ellen Currie

Kitty is afraid to commit herself wholeheartedly to her lover, Rambeau, and as a consequence, he has moved out of their home. Only after he is gone does Kitty come to realize how much she really does love him. She spirals down into depression and is not helped at all by her jealous, neurotic sister Eileen or by their wasp-tongued, house-bound, decrepit Irish mother. At one point, Kitty believes she is pregnant and her sister believes that she too is pregnant and it seems from appearances that their mean old mother is acting like she is pregnant too. Add in a mean-tempered pit bull (is there any other kind?), an amoral teenager who really is pregnant, and a lecherous, elderly neighbor, and you have a cast of characters who are strange, repulsive, nasty and all more than a little bonkers.

I can't say I cared at all for this book. For one, it is billed as being funny. But it isn't. Unless you are the kind of person who laughs at the disabled and thinks heartbreak and tragedy are hilarious. Because this is not a happy story. One character gets mauled by the mean dog. One character and her unborn child die in a car crash. The mean old mother has a series of strokes. And speaking of mean, it seems like the favorite activity of these character is making each other feel lousy. I didn't find it funny and beyond that, these people all act like escapees from a loony bin. I just couldn't relate to their insanity, their pointless cruelty to each other.

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