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Town House Library Binding – 8 May 2007
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1417784628
- ISBN-13 : 978-1417784622
- Customer Reviews:
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Ridley Scott has been signed as the producer; Doug Wright as the screenwriter.
Tish told me recently in an email that filming is slated to begin in Boston in January.
NEWS FROM THE AUTHOR, (Tish herself!)We've had some nice film news--John Carney, who directed the much-acclaimed indie film, ONCE, has signed on to direct Town House. ONCE won at Sundance, it's a great film that's getting a lot of Oscar buzz.
Tish has a fantastically creative and quirky style. That is one reason her book sold so quickly. Another reason? I have no idea. But hum a few bars for me or give me the recipe and I'll try my hand...Hmm. Maybe not. Tish is sui generis, a unique author with a unique story to tell.
On to Tish's book. Admittedly, an agoraphobic herself, Tish's main character, Jack Madigan, is also agoraphobic. He lives in the house his dead, rock-star legend father, Baz Madigan, left in his will.
(This fictional house and the cover of the book is a Boston Town House, the subject of the book. Once upon a time, Tish fell in love with Boston when she was here for a conference. She skipped the conference but toured Boston with its fabulous history, culture, and architecture.)
Like Jack's life, the house is a once-glorious enterprise now in near ruins. Yet, Jack is still way too good looking for his own good and is fast spending the inheritance from his father's royalties. However, in Town House, like in real life, once the money runs out, it becomes time to pay the piper. Jack must negotiate his way through many characters in this fast-paced story. The bank is threatening to foreclose; the ex-wife wants to take their son to California - and a maddening girl next door keeps barging in on his life. Then there is the matter of the real estate agent.
So Jack turns to his ingenuity to save his mortgage, his sanity and his son. And to venture out into the real world beyond his front door. This is a comic read in the best sense - zany characters who seem too nutsy to be real and yet they are characters you recognize as your own neighbors (or, possibly as yourself).
* * *
This is from the Prologue:
"The pills clung to the bottom of Baz's dry tongue like barnacles. He held his breath, waiting for the nurse's tyrannical bosom to swing away and lead her downstairs, toward the street where her teenage son was waiting, or honking rather, in his shiny new '78 Pinto.
"Swallow," said the nurse, narrowing her eyes.
He opened his mouth to show his empty tongue. "Were you always this bossy?" One of the pills struck the underside of his tongue stud.
"Only with the sneaky ones."
The Pinto beeped again.
"Go ahead, Louisa." Baz's words hung, wafer-thin and dusty, in the stale air of his bedroom. He closed his eyes and swallowed, sending trickles of pain across his temples and down his neck. "I'm going to sleep until Francine comes up with my dinner."
"How that fine woman ever birthed a wretch like you, I'll never know." She gathered his mane into a loose ponytail and stuffed it down his T-shirt. "Your hair smells nice today."
Baz cracked one eye open as she lifted the leather jacket from his shoulders and replaced it with a soft guilt. Having assured himself she wasn't mocking him, he glanced up to admire the giant Bazmaniacs logo on the back of the battered jacket as she hung it on a chair - right next to his Fender Stratocaster electric guitar and three framed gold records."
And from Chapter 1:
" Jack Madigan squeezed his eyes shut. Hard. He wasn't going to cry over this. There were exactly three events in his thirty-six-year-old memory that had brought him to tears, typically life-splintering events; such as his father dying on him while he was away at a sleepover; his son, Harlan, bursting - squalling an bawling - out of the womb and into his heart; and his ex-wife sashaying out the front door of the old Boston town house and wishing Jack a good life.
She'd forgotten the tweezers."
* * *
So will Jack be able to find love? Save his house and child? Venture outside into the real world? All that will become evident in the final chapters of this MUST read!
Two women in his life push and shove him to break through his fears( his naive Realtor, and his precocious neglected 8-year-old next door neighbor girl), but he constantly lets them down. He can't help them if they are standing outside his house, and how can a friendship stand strong when it seems so one-sided at times?His son Harlan, an amazing kid with a true loving heart, is slowly loosing hope for his father. He is a teen, a teen should not be seen with a father who cannot leave the house except to get dizzy, create a scene and embarrass his son (or so Harlan thinks!!!)
Well, read it!! Town House is a perfect book that is not as silly as chick lit, and has much more substance...but it also is very funny. Jack the main character is full of sarcasm, and he will draw you right in, and you will love him, at least I do. So, if you are looking for a book in between reading Tolstoy and Henry James, this is it. The quality is there, the lightness and humor are there as well, and yet it is completely quirky and real. Dive in!
Quotes from the book:
" No, the rood of your problem lies in your lack of a stable childhood home. Lack of parenting. Lack of a solid family life. Your father was and obsessive -compulsive with olfactory issues who left you to sleep in a Coca-Cola crate" (p. 21).
" Harlan would be much better off with his mother, Jack thought. Hell, he'd be better off with this Yale guy, who takes all the vitamins. Only the most selfish of fathers wouldn't see this" (p. 62).
"This house has turned you into a prisoner. It being sold is, like the best thing that could ever happen to you. And me! Let's get the hell out of it!" (p. 81).
"It was all so delicate, so temporary, this thing called life. One minute this was your world; the next minute it was gone" (p. 249).
What I found amazing about this book was the humor inherent in a very difficult situation. Jack Madigan has lived within his home in an old townhouse along with his son, a cat and his wife. His wife left him and s already planning her marriage. Whenever Jack tries to leave his home, he has panic attacks, a particular type which causes him to feel dizzy, head spinning,unable to stay upright. While this could be milked for far more drama, I liked the rather wry take Jack has on his condition, even as his son expresses a mixture of emotions, from resentment to compassion to shame.
Of course, nothing stays the same, not even in a seemingly controlled environment and the world comes crashing in on Jack. His income dries up and the townhouse is put up for sale, pressuring him to face the reality of change - and far more change than simply stepping outside his door, something he finds difficult unless he is extremely angry- and even then, his anger generally wears off quickly and he is panicky again. To add to the mix, his real estate agent is a quirky person who is quite chatty, often overwhelming or baffling Jack. But there is more to her than meets the eye.
I thought the author managed to convey the particular traits of agoraphobia quite well, although there are many types and varieties of this condition. Some people can make it outside their home, within a certain area of safety. Jack has a far more severe form than those people, finding it impossible to even step outside to pick up a dead bird. He is known as a "hermit" by many in the neighborhood, even taunted by children.
Few anxieties are cookie cutter imitations of others and depend on the person, their will, their biochemistry and other factors. For those who find the novel a bit contrived or can't relate to Jack's quirkiness, I hope you'll find the writer's style unique enough to balance anything that seems a bit pat. For those who are prone to anxiety and panic, they may find some comfort in a book which acknowledges the realities in a far more accepting and matter of fact way than you might expect.