Review: The Financial Lives of the Poets
The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter
Publisher: Harper Perennial
From the cover:
What happens when small-time reporter Matthew Prior quits his job to gamble everything on a quixotic notion: a Web site devoted to financial journalism in the form of blank verse? Before long, he wakes up to find himself jobless, hobbled with debt, spying on his wife’s online flirtation, and six days away from losing his home. . . . Until, one night on a desperate two a.m. run to 7-Eleven, he falls in with some local stoners, and they end up hatching the biggest—and most misbegotten—plan yet.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love love love this book! The Financial Lives of the Poets is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s the kind of book that makes me want to shout from rooftops and let everyone know that they just have to read this book.
Matt Prior is your average American trying to make ends meet during the economic crisis. He’s out of a job, his wife is having an online affair with an old flame, his father has dementia, and his kids are this close to leaving their private school for public school. Oh, and he’s seven days away from losing his house to the creditors. It’s not the best situation to be in and very few would find it humorous or funny, and yet Jess Walter somehow finds a way to turn this dire situation into a laugh out loud amusing one.
Walter interlaces reality with humor as Matt finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into the black financial hole. After running into a couple of kids at the 7-11, Matt comes up with a brilliant plan to get himself out of the hole. One thing leads to another and we’re suddenly following Matt on a crazy and outrageous adventure into Weedland. From Matt to his senile dad, all of the characters in the book were great and each one carried his or her own weight. They pulled at my heart strings and I couldn’t help but feel sympathetic for them.
In addition to the splendidly written characters, the writing was absolutely amazing, witty and humorous, fantabulously awesome and please feel free to insert your own adjective here because I’m at a loss for words on how to describe it other than to say it’s so magnificent that I can’t believe I didn’t pick up one of his books earlier. To put it simply, Matt’s inner thoughts and narration were extraordinary and brilliant. I started out tabbing various sentences and paragraphs here and there because I thought they were so wonderfully written and by the time I reached the end of the book, it seemed like every page had a marker on it.
I can’t stress it enough. GO READ THE BOOK! You won’t regret it. I think Jess Walter is quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors and I’m excited to pick up some of his older titles the next time I head to a bookstore. I’m definitely picking up extra copies of this book and sending them out as holiday gifts.