The book club pick this month was Tortilla Curtain. I've had this one on my shelf for probably at least three years. My stepmom gave it to me thinking I might enjoy it because it take place in Los Angeles. Sorry if anyone out there is a fan of T. C. Boyle, but I think he is a bit arrogant and writes like he thinks he's writing the "Great American novel". I don't know I think he felt he was writing a social commentary on Mexican immigration to the United States and juxtaposed (Mr. Boyle would like that word) it with yuppyville in L.A.
The book is about two different couples. The first is a Mexican couple who crossed the border and are living extremely poor lives camping in Topanga Canyon and begging for work just to survive. The other couple: Mr. and Mrs. Yuppy (my names). They live in a swanky community that abhors anything/anyone who is deemed beneath them. They put up a gate and a stucco wall in the name of security even though, its to keep the riff raff (aka the Mexicans) out.
I did enjoy that the book was set in Los Angeles and was familiar with most of the areas described. I was also familiar to some extent with both sides of the characters. However, I was annoyed at the exaggeration of the characters. I felt like the author thought he needed to make the two couples so extreme in order to get his point across to the reader about the two different worlds they live in. I think the idea of the novel is a good one, but the execution was no good. Unfortunate events happen to both couples throughout the book and escalate toward the end. It is very difficult to read about people when "the hits just keep coming".
I guess it seems like I haven't enjoyed my books lately. I did read the second Cliff Janeway novel (The Bookman's Wake by John Dunning) between Lost and Found and Tortilla Curtain. I liked the second one but the first half of the book was a little slow. It definitely picked up at the end. I found the third one on the bargain table at Barnes and Noble so I'll be reading that soon. Right now I'm about to start the second Temperance Brennen book, Death Du Jour by Kathy Reichs.