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Trouble Paperback – June 1, 2010

3.2 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307390942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307390943
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,586,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Christensen's novel is a cross between mid-life crisis and the excesses of Spring Break as two mid-forties college friends escape their problems at home for a Mexico retreat. Raquel Dominquez, an LA-based rock singer nearing her expiration date, has a new album coming out but is fleeing a scandal with a boyfriend half her age that sports a pregnant ex-girlfriend. Raquel wants to "get her head together" and spend some quality time with Josie, a Manhattan psychotherapist. For her part, Josie has just realized that her marriage is a shambles, hoping to begin her life again when she returns from their South-of-the-Border sojourn. A third friend, Indriani, a trust-fund single unable to sustain a committed relationship, remains on the sidelines in New York, vaguely judgmental of the behavior of her two best college friends.

What begins as an escape from responsibility ultimately yields tragic results as Raquel and Josie submerge themselves in the culture of their contemporaries in Mexico, a group of musicians, artists and social activists that consume massive amounts of alcohol during dusk `til dawn forays into the local night life. Once freed from their personal problems in LA and New York, Josie and Raquel dive into excess, embracing Scarlet O'Hara's mantra, "I'll think about it tomorrow." Unfortunately, tomorrow arrives with painful consequences.

Christensen is a fluid writer whose prose is compelling, if not her obstreperous characters. Given the outrageous actions of her protagonists, I find myself ambivalent, a voyeur watching a train wreck. I don't know these people, nor do I empathize with them, their casual physical encounters and extravagant tastes. Nor am I seduced by their tragedy: I still don't like them or sympathize with the plight of wither woman.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How can a person write so engagingly and make one care about people who are so entirely unbelievable and, if one could believe in them, thunderingly unlikeable? I have no answer to that question really, but it's on my mind after finishing "Trouble" in a record-breaking 1 day (I couldn't put it down).

At least in the first third of the novel, one has the suspense of wondering what the heroine Josie's husband Anthony will have to say when he finds out that a glimpse of herself in the mirror (talk about Narcissus!) has persuaded his wife of 15 years to leave him. But once that (it turns out to be rather disappointing) event has taken place and Josie has gone off to hide from the paparazzi with her rock-star college buddy Raquel, we lose all real reason to keep reading.

But by then, though, I was hooked like a drunk on bad tequila (which gives some flavor of the last two-thirds of the novel -- the romp in Mexico City). It might be because the lavish and seductive descriptions of food, drink, and (yes) steamy sex are actually pretty compelling. As the scrumptious mocha-colored man-candy Felipe comments to the unbeguiling but electrically attractive Josie, "You love to eat. How are you so thin?" This is a question that was on my mind too as I raced through so many descriptions of tortillas, chorizo, chocolate cake, cheesy omelettes, mescal, beer, and so forth that I thought I was gaining weight through my eyes. But what a seductive and carnal feast! It brings its own rewards.

I also suspect that Kate Christensen, a writer I admire greatly from "The Epicure's Lament," is more aware of the flaws in these characters than most readers here are giving her credit for. It's easy to make fun of the book just by quoting it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Midlife crises always seem ridiculous to people viewing them from the outside. While we can understand some peoples need, or possibly their borderline obsession to leave some mark on the world, most people can only shake their heads in wonder at why someone feels the need to buy a 60,000 dollar car or a boat they'll use twice then forget all about. Josie's midlife crisis involves her leaving her husband and flying off the Mexico City with a long time friend in search of sexual fulfillment.

I have never before encountered a main character I more wanted to die in the first ten pages before. While I'm certainly not Kate Christensen's primary audience, they sheer awfulness of the first dozen or so pages had me praying that Josie would be run down by a bus or brutally murdered by a junkie in an alleyway. The character oscillates wildly between evoking the image of a mid-life whore looking for any convenient excuse to hump something with a pulse other than her dull as dishwater husband, and at other times as a tragic victim of a seemingly loveless, and more importantly sexless, marriage. At the same time she teams up with Raquel, a celebrity fleeing paparazzi for sleeping with the soon to be father of a pregnant teen. While this reads like something you could hear conceivably hear off of E, so much of it is as believable as diamonds raining from the sky.

The plot line eventually picks up and actually becomes something decent, but starting from such a poisoned well made this an agonizing read for me, as I'm sure it would be for people of my particular mindset, which, if there is a just God in this world, isn't very many.
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