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Customer Review

271 of 290 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exaggerated but true, December 27, 1999
This review is from: The Tortilla Curtain (Paperback)
Boyle's The Tortillia Curtain differs from other books of his that I have read in that it tackles a serious set of social issues head on. Among the other reviews posted here for this book I see that some have claimed that the book is 'unrealistic' and makes use of every stereotype imaginable. Well, while one wouldn't want to pretend that all Southern Californians of means are shallow conspicuous consumers, nothing in the portrait Boyle creates here rings untrue. There must be thousands of people who fit this image. That being the case, it is important to make the point that he doesn't present either the Yuppie Californian family or the Mexican immagrant family as a symbol. They are real people. They don't stand for anything else. And while the extreme dichotomy posed between the wealth and well being of the one and the poverty and marginal health of the other do serve the purpose of highlighting the issue of the extreme inequities in the distribution of goods and services in this country, Boyle does not suggest a solution. Rather, he is interested in showing us what happens when these extremes come into contact in unexpected circumstances. What he has given us is a story of people in different circumstances responding as they likely would - as their training and experience have prepared them to. If we want to make an allegory of it, I don't think that is what he intended. I think that all he is saying is that extremes of expectation, in conflict, will generate extremes of behavior.
I enjoyed the book very much. Apart from Boyle's considerable skill with words, his characters were vivid and the plot - though heavy on coincidence (hey, it worked for Dickens) - is interesting and keeps the reader focused till the end.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 12, 2011 2:59:26 PM PST
An exceedingly literate and thoughtful review that makes me want to read the book. Doug Vaughn apparently is comfortable with ambiguity and expects the reader of his review to have an equally mature vision of reality. Thank you.

Posted on Jan 13, 2016 11:48:04 PM PST
Yvonne H. says:
I agree with you 100%. Not to duplicate your words, I must admit this is one of my favorite books including all authors. Californians can be a separate breed and Boyle says it like it is.
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