the husband habit

I’ve only read one of Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez’s books previously (Playing with Boys), but I found it to be lively and colorful and full of vivid characters.  Not so much with The Husband Habit, which I found, to put it simply, disappointing. 

Valdes-Rodriguez’s newest novel isn’t bad, exactly — but it’s not good, either, and it lacks the energy and personality I would have expected of her.  The story of Vanessa, a single woman who keeps falling for married men (not that she knows they’re married until too late), is rather sad, and the introduction of a potential love interest doesn’t help much; the characterization of him is somewhat stilted and forced.  Throughout the entire novel, I have a hard time buying him as a real person.  Also problematic is the forcefulness of Vanessa’s politics, primarily regarding the war in Iraq.  While they do play a role in who she is as a character, the lack of subtlety in introducing them, coupled with entirely too much focus on them throughout the story, ends up making the ideas a distraction from rather than an asset to the bigger picture.  I was annoyed by the overt role they played, and I largely agreed with the views — to someone who has entirely different political beliefs, the focus on them would probably be enough of a reason to stop reading altogether.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve been watching too much Top Chef, but my favorite aspect of the book was Vanessa’s culinary career.  I’m certainly not any sort of cook, but the descriptions of her creating new dishes and her aspirations to open her own restaurant were the most interesting parts of the book, although, unfortunately, not central to the plot. 

This is one of those books where if you really, really like the author, you’ll probably like it well enough.  But to anyone else, I’d say steer clear and give her other work a try instead.

WHO: Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
WHAT: The Husband Habit
WHERE: Free review copy won through LibraryThing
WHEN: December 2009
WHY: Enjoyed previous work by author, so entered LibraryThing drawing for review copy
HOW: Hard copy

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~ by Molly on December 17, 2009.

One Response to “the husband habit”

  1. I have to say I totally agree. I loved all of her previous books, but this book was very disappointing. It didn’t seem believable and I had to pull teeth to finish reading it. It just didn’t seem like the same author penned this book.

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