From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Zevin (YA novel Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
, etc.) delivers in her blazing second adult novel a Corrections
for our recessionary times. While Roger Pomeroy spins his middle-aged wheels in graduate school, his wife, George, supports the family mainly via an ever larger number of credit cards opened in her recent college grad son Vinnie's name. Meanwhile, daughter Helen insists on an expensive wedding, and youngest daughter Patsy gets pregnant and is transferred to a religious school out of state. Struggling to stay afloat, Roger and George deplete Patsy's college fund, and Patsy in turn enlists in the army for the tuition benefits. She's sent to Iraq and comes back injured and suffering from PTSD. Roger, in a not-quite-convincing turn, becomes an ultra-conservative Christian pastor, and long-suffering George goes off the deep end. Zevin mixes sharp humor with moments of grace as she gives readers terrific insights into the problems of adult children removing themselves from the influence of parents, and establishes herself as an astute chronicler of the way we spend now. (Mar.)
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Zevin is the author of the adult novel Margarettown (2005) and two YA novels (Elsewhere, 2005, and Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, 2007). Here she jettisons the fantasy element that has been a hallmark of her work for a sharp, funny, and timely look at a debt-ridden, God-fearing American family. When Evangelical Christian Roger uproots his family to Texas to pursue a PhD, his hapless wife, Georgia, attempting to support the family on a temp’s salary, heedlessly throws unopened bills in a kitchen drawer. When their financial house of cards finally falls, it is the youngest daughter, feisty Patsy, who pays the price; forced to enroll in the army in order to pay for college, she ends up being shipped off to Iraq. Zevin skewers a host of social issues from religious zealotry to the consequences of war to the entitlement mind-set of average Americans. What makes her book more than just a satire, though, is the deft way she thoroughly humanizes her characters. Readers will relate to and be moved by a beleaguered family’s attempts to climb out of debt and dysfunction. --Joanne Wilkinson