The Financial Lives of the Poets: A Novel

The Financial Lives of the Poets: A Novel

by Jess Walter

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061916052
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/07/2010
Series: P.S. Series
Pages: 290
Sales rank: 261,650
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Jess Walter is the author of The Zero (a finalist for the National Book Award), Citizen Vince (a winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel), Land of the Blind , Ruby Ridge, and Over Tumbled Graves (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year). He lives in Spokane, Washington, with his family.

Hometown:

Spokane, Washington

Date of Birth:

July 20, 1965

Place of Birth:

Spokane, Washington

Education:

B.A., Eastern Washington University, 1987

What People are Saying About This

Nick Hornby

“Walter is one of my favorite young American writers. . . . [Financial Lives] made me laugh more than any other book published this year.”

Ben Fountain

“One of the best American writers working today.…It’s a testament to this author’s genius that I could not stop laughing even as he drives home some necessary truths. Walter has written a profound, and profoundly funny, book; this may well be the classic novel of our post-boom era.”

Sam Lipsyte

“Jess Walter’s smart and big-hearted take on our bleak national moment is a welcome relief. The Financial Lives of the Poets is a rollicking fiction and an affecting family portrait, as well as a mordantly funny cautionary tale.”

Whitney Terrell

“Confirms Jess Walter as a writer of the first rank.…his eye keen for the true values of the human heart. This is a hopped-up, raucous stunner of a novel with a hero who’s funny enough to make you weep for what we’ve lost.”

Jeffrey Burke

“A comic masterpiece… packed [with] life and wry truth.”

Sara Nelson

“A real find….the ultimate something-for-everyone-don’t-skip-must-read.”

Sarah Vowell

“Jess Walter’s The Financial Lives of the Poets is a comic, graceful parable of marriage and money troubles in which a well-meaning family man makes decisions that are seriously stupid—and entertaining and American.”

Maureen Corrigan

“[A] superb farce.”

Richard Russo

“When it comes to explaining to me my own too often baffling nation, there’s no one writing today whom I trust as completely as Jess Walter. His intelligence and sympathy and great wit inform every page—indeed every sentence—of his terrific new novel, The Financial Lives of the Poets. ”

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The Financial Lives of the Poets 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 94 reviews.
iPodReader More than 1 year ago
An amusing tale of a man who makes a series of bad decisions and the reader can almost understand why. The topics are serious and timely but told with such humor you can't really be dragged down. I recommend it.
NoToleranceForFools More than 1 year ago
I was hooked by page 3. A current novel set amongst the wreckage of the recent financial meltdown, it touches on romance, drugs, deceit, the American Dream, redemption, and a bit of clever poetry. It's a quick, funny read that I shared with my 18 yr old daughter, who laughed in all the same places I did. Wonderful comic imagery, captivating writing. Can't wait to read his other books.
janw on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Absurd and fun book!
yourotherleft on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Matt Prior's life as he knew it is circling the drain the night he heads out to the 7-Eleven for some overpriced milk. He lost his job some months ago, the job he was forced to crawl back to after he risked it all on a website venture dedicated to financial advice written in mediocre poetry. It's starting to seem inevitable that he will lose his house if he doesn't come up with a significant sum of money before week's end. His wife is carrying on an affair of sorts with an old boyfriend via Facebook and text messages, and his dad's mental health is declining rapidly. When Matt, shuffling under the fluorescent lights of the 7-Eleven in his bedroom slippers, happens upon two of the sorts of guys that you'd rather not run into in a 7-Eleven he soon finds himself driving the two stoners to a party and smoking way better weed than he ever smoked in college. With a clarity that only weed can produce, Matt knows that this weed is the weed that can solve all his problems. He just needs to sell it.The Financial Lives of the Poets drew an inevitable comparison to the TV show Weeds for me. Both are at once laugh out loud funny and sad in their biting satirization of what the American dream has become. Mercilessly does Jess Walter spear the new American family unit that builds its ambitious life on hard work and mountains of debt. He harpoons the people who seemingly without a second thought take out loans on houses and cars they never had any hope of affording sold to them by slick salesmen peddling an unrealistic way of life. Walter mocks the people who, once they've attained some semblance of security, throw it away on goofy dreams and online shopping binges all the while ignoring the important things in life like their spouses, their children, and their friends. Hidden within Walter's laugh out loud satire, however, is a set of real, recognizable characters that draw readers' sympathies. There's Matt who got lost while he was trying to find his dreams, who can't sleep at night for worrying about what fate will befall his family now that he's failed as their provider. There's his wife, Lisa, who desperately misses the powerful, sexy career woman she used to be before she gave it up for kids. There's Matt's father who is slowly going senile, but still thinks he's "got it" because he can't remember that a stripper named Charity took him for all he was worth. There are countless would-be customers of Matt's pot dealing scheme who feel like they need to have a smoke just to make it through a day at the office. These are people we know, and in some cases these are people we are, and despite all his squeezing them into ridiculous situations for laughs, Walter doesn't let us forget that. The Financial Lives of the Poets is an engaging story of a family gone awry full of cannily delivered truths and a potent satire of life in today's USA.
TheBookJunky on LibraryThing 8 months ago
An average middle class guy loses his job as a journalist during the 2009 recession ¿ he is days away from losing his house too. Then he stumbles into the possibility of being a drug dealer. Selling pot to his friends and acquaintances. Exploiting an under-serviced niche market. Funny book.
amydross on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Entertaining but slight. While reading, I did get very wrapped up in the wild ups and downs of the plot, but I'm not sure there's much here that will stick with me. I did like the way poetry was incorporated into the text, and I loved the adorable drug-world characters. But overall, I would have preferred this book to have more hi-jinks and less self-pity.
msf59 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Matt Prior was riding high; prestigious newspaper career, beautiful wife, two fine sons and a dream house. Suddenly his world collapses, along with the US economy and he finds himself jobless, nearly bankrupt and inches away from losing the trophy wife and the house. Late one night, in a fog of hopelessness, he stumbles into a convenient store, to buy milk and falls in with a group of local thugs and drug dealers. From this unusual meeting, a pact is formed, along with a dangerous plan to pull Matt out of the swamp he is mired in.Walter is a very good writer. He¿s smart and darkly humorous. The one thing the story lacks, is freshness. There are a couple juicy surprises but most of the story-lines have a somewhat stale taste. I still recommend the book and will look forward to reading his other work.
elsyd on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I swore, after reading "Citizen Vince", that I would never read another thing with Jess Walter's name on it. Imagine my chagrin upon finding this book was my book club choice this month!This book has 290 pages. It took 200 pages before any plot or anything substantive took place. So actually we end up with a Short Story, and I hate short stories!Jess Walter is 99% adolescent smart-alec banter and 1% substance, in my opinion.
TheLostEntwife on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Don't you love it when you find yourself really enjoying a book that you know you normally would not like?THE FINANCIAL LIVES OF THE POETS is that book for me. There are so many things about the book that should make up the recipe for being a book on Lydia's did-not-enjoy list. Instead I found myself enjoying the story immensely (although, admittedly, I did have some pretty nasty dreams because it was a little too real and bleak).Jess Walter does a fantastic job of mixing comedy (straight up laugh out loud lines as well as a self-deprecating main character) with real life topics such as the economy and financial crisis. The first chapter had me laughing out loud to the point where I was wiping away tears by the end of it. So what all did this book have that would make me not want to pick it up?- Poetry- Financial misery- An extraordinary amount of swear words- Drug useThose four things normally add up to me tossing the book away in disgust and moving on. Instead I found myself wrapped up in the story and feeling the narrators pain. It was all so.. real.Very solid book, very entertaining and I'm loving that it took me way out of my comfort zone and reminded me to keep an open mind about things. You never know when something might surprise you.
chuewyc on LibraryThing 8 months ago
pretty good book. Defiantly made me laugh at a few parts. But overall to self hating and bitter for my taste
knittingmomof3 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
My review from my blog Rundpinne......"I enjoy a good satirical novel and the premise of looking at the harsh realities of life as the market crashed, while homes were being foreclosed and people were losing their jobs, marriages were on the rocks and life was at best rather bleak, is intriguing. The promising premise for the novel The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter, while a dark look into bleak times, was one I did not enjoy. The protagonist, Mathew Prior is about to lose his home, a fact he has yet to share with his wife who may or may not be cheating on him. His father lost all his money to a stripper by the name of Charity and now the protagonist, a father of two, husband and once respected albeit small time reporter has decided to hook up with drug dealers he meets outside a 7/11 while buying milk. I am all for a good satire, I have read some brilliant satires over the decades, yet this one did not resonate well with me. It is quite possibly due to the fact that I have no tolerance for drugs, especially when a middle aged married father of two decides to sell drugs in a spur of the moment, goes by nickname is Slippers, speaks the drug dealer lingo, and in case the reader does not catch on in the first twenty pages, Matthew Prior drives a Nissan Maxima, a point repeated quite often and apparently lost on this reader. There is tremendous promise in The Financial Lives of the Poets, yet I just did not care for the book as a whole. What I enjoyed most was reading the author¿s ¿how the book came about¿ at the end of this story. I strongly suggest following the tour and reading other opinions about The Financial Lives of Poets before deciding if this is indeed a book for you."
bookchickdi on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I have to admit, a novel titled The Financial Lives of Poets is not something I would normally rush to read. Why would I care about finance and poets? But since people I respect raved about this book, I gave it a try.I'm so glad I did! Jess Walter has written a dazzling story of a young suburban family in the throws of the national economic crisis that threatens not only their financial stability but their very existence as a family unit.Matt left his job as a business writer at a newspaper to follow his dream- a website devoted to financial news, with advice columns written in poetry. Even in the best of times, this sounds like a risky venture. Matt and his wife Lisa take another mortgage on their house to invest in the company, and then the housing market crashes.Matt goes back to his job at the newspaper, only to be laid off when newspapers begin to lose advertisers and readers. Lisa works at a boring job she hates for little money and expresses her dissatisfaction by buying collectibles that she hopes to resell on Ebay. Now their garage is filled with boxes of junk she is unable to unload.Their house will soon be in foreclosure, and their children will be forced to leave their lovely Catholic school and go to the dangerous neighborhood public school. Matt's father, who suffers from dementia, has moved in with them after he met a stripper who stole all of his money, and Lisa is contemplating an affair with her old boyfriend. What's a man to do?After Matt meets up with some young potheads at the 7-11 one night, he becomes enmeshed in their lives. He hangs out with them hoping to forget his troubles. Eventually, as sometimes happens when under the influence of pot, a plan is created that Matt hopes will solve his money problems.The author writes well for his characters. The disintegrating marriage of Matt and Lisa is sad to watch."We're in a perpetual stalemate here; lost. I can see how we got here- after each bad decision, after each failure we quietly logged our blame, our petty resentments; we constructed a case against each other that we never prosecuted. As long as both cases remained unstated, the charges sealed, we had a tacit peace; you don't mention this and I won't mention that, this and that growing and changing and becoming everything, until the only connection between us was this bridge of quiet guilt and recrimination."While Lisa and Matt fall apart, Matt's relationship with his dad is so touching. Anyone who has someone in their own family with dementia will relate to Matt and his dad, the loving patience Matt shows his father, the loss of a once-proud man's self-reliance.Fans of Jonathan Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You should run to get this book. As a woman, I find this glimpse into the male psyche fascinating. (The cover is even reminiscent of TV's Mad Men opening credits with the falling man.) Matt's poetry is cleverly sprinkled throughout the book, adding an extra dimension for the reader. Walter's look at the economic crisis through the prism of this one family is an emotional, poignant ride.
whitreidtan on LibraryThing 8 months ago
There's something about this book that calls out to make it into a film. I can't quite put my finger on it, not being a movie buff, but there's definitely something cinematic in its pages. If this book was more predictable, it would have the makings of a fantastic Hollywood movie. Its very lack of predictability definitely gives it great potential as an engrossing read despite the seemingly depressing premise. And Hollywood will either miss out on a thoughtful, strange, and convoluted film or they will change it beyond all recognition. The good news is that the book itself doesn't have to cater to a teenaged-boy demographic and therefore can keep all those interesting and oddball happenings and characters that populate its pages and capture readers. Matt Prior is a former business reporter who left his fairly secure (well, as secure as newspapers get these days) job to start a website marrying the concept of finances and poetry. Not surprisingly, the venture failed, leading him back to the newspaper for a brief spell before being caught in a round of lay-offs. Now out of work and floundering in debt, he is about to lose his house; his wife is on the verge of an affair with her old high school boyfriend found again through the miracles of social networking; and his father is sunk in the quicksand of dementia. Opening with Matt buying milk at the local 7/11 yet again so that his boys have milk for their cereal in the morning, the plotline immediately veers into the random and just bizarre enough to be believable realm. After buying the milk, Matt ends up driving two young stoners to a party and smoking marajuana for the first time in many years. As if his depression over finances isn't enough, Matt rashly decides that with marajuana as strong and wonderful as what he's just smoked, he can sell it himself to other former smokers looking for a toke of nostalgia and earn enough to keep from losing his house. In earning enough to keep his house, he won't have to share just what dire straits they are in with his wife and can therefore concentrate on ways to convince her to stay in their marriage and give him another chance. In convincing her to stay in their marriage, everything in life will get rosy again. Can you spot where in this line of reasoning he goes wrong? The current financial crisis is a major backdrop to Matt's unconsidered scheming. It informs his weariness and beats him down at every opportunity, manifested so soul-destroyingly in a scene where Matt, desperate to stave off foreclosure, calls the latest in a string of banks to hold his mortgage, and fails to find his way through the labyrinthine automated call system to speak to an actual person. Then in a subsequent scene he reaches a live human being, is treated sympathetically, and is promptly disconnected without even the comfort of remembering which of the random extension numbers he dialed actually netted him the live bank employee. Frustration, desperation, and futility ooze from the narrative but they are couched in a black humor so as not to overwhelm the reader. Matt's bumbling, sweat-inducing foray into drug dealing is pretty funny. He's so out of place in the whole drug and party scene but then again, as a middle-aged husband, dad, son, and man, he's pretty out of place in his own life. I really struggled to get into the book initially and I never did completely lose my judgemental feelings about Matt choosing to deal drugs but Walter did a good job making all the plot twists believable and convincing me that while I would never approve of Matt's choices, the imminent demise of your only known way of life and quite possibly your family's ultimate happiness as well can certainly make people consider things they never would have before. Not necessity but desperation making strange bedfellows and all that. Given that I am not much of a poetry reader, I know I missed many of the barely veiled homages to famous poets but those that I caught (William Carlos Willia
KimLarae on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Absolutely current and scathing. Hysterically funny. A bit thin.
SueRidnour on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Matt Prior is a decent family guy whose life is unraveling as he approaches middle age. He has been laid off from his job as a business reporter at a floundering newspaper, his elderly father has moved in, his mortgage is about to be foreclosed, and his wife is having an online flirtation with her high-school boyfriend. And oh yes, his website business dedicated to merging investment advice and poetry is an epic failure. A late-night milk run to his neighborhood convenience store opens up a new business opportunity for Matt, and he is just desperate enough to ignore the possible consequences of dealing in an illegal commodity. Unfortunately, these consequences rain down on him in a flood of biblical proportions. Matt¿s unfailing humor, his ability to create poetry out of the financial news, and his love for his family are just a few of the things that contribute to make this an hilarious and heart-warming portrait of a middle-class good guy who discovers that you can lose it all and still have everything you need.
EricPMagnuson on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Super writing, super story of our times.
zibilee on LibraryThing 8 months ago
After losing his job as a journalist, Matthew Prior took a gamble on creating a website that mixed financial news and free verse. Needless to say, things didn't work out. Now he and his family are living under crushing debt and are about to lose their home, and their finances are in total meltdown. To make matters worse, Matt suspects his wife is having an online affair with an old lover from high school and his senile father has just moved in with the family. Then Matt makes a late-night trip to the 7-Eleven for milk and gets caught up in a very unfamiliar situation with some local thugs after agreeing to take a hit of their superior weed. As Matt winds his way through the troublewith his finances, marriage and family, he comes to find himself disastrously enmeshed with his new friends and must find a way to disentangle himself from all his weighty encumbrances, both new and old.I found this to be an uproariously funny book, and also one that was very economically portentous. From the moment that self-depreciating and clever Matt was introduced amid his myriad of difficulties, the humor seemed to pour off the pages in a casual and original way. I don't want to give away too much of the plot and ruin the book, but I really felt that Walter managed to create some outstandingly hysterical satire that focused on middle class American society. Although this book really brought the funny, there were some piercing and frightening fiscal portraits of today's tail-spinning economy, and it was eye-opening to see a protagonist like Matt having to navigate his way through the financial wasteland that was his life.There were two stories going on in this book: the tale of Matt's misadventures with his buddies and the interlocking story of personal financial ruin. Both played off of each other and took focus at various times in the book, and both focused on different and specific emotions. In a lighthearted way, the author manages to fuse both the reality of today's economic crisis and the story of how that crisis reflects itself in a typical American family. I thought it was really cool that some of the story was told in poetry asides, most of which were both elegantly written and fabulously funny. Walter even managed to stay grounded in popular culture and language in the sections that focused on Matt's new friends.Aside from being culturally significant and exceedingly funny, the book had some very touching and emotional scenes that made me snap back as a reader and take notice. There were, for example, many glimpses of conversation between Matt and his ailing father, some of which were startlingly sad and poignant, and Matt's nearly non-stop internal monologue on the slow destruction of his marriage and family. I thought that as a character, Matt was very straightforward and perceptive, and that his voice throughout the book was not only credible, but endearing. At times it was as if he was stuck in the middle of a comedy of errors, one situation building upon another as all threatened to collapse in a heap at his feet, but the fact that he never really lost his composure was something that I marveled at and admired.The book mainly focused on the protagonist as he fought his way through the quagmire of his life, and as such there wasn't a lot of development of secondary characters. I felt that this was just right for this book because it enabled me to realize that the focus of the narrative, in fact the very point of the narrative, was to be a reflection of Matt's thoughts as he raced to find some magical cure all for his life's ailments. As such, Matt remained the only fully developed three-dimensional character throughout the book.I also liked the fact that the book was very realistic, and that there was no license taken for dramatic effect or a more seemly narration. Matt was forced to take a real inventory of his life and face his problems in the way you or I would have to, and not everything was neatly tied up in an effortless way.
ellynv on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Walter's protagonist, Matt Prior, is the everyman for the current age of recession and financial despair. Though Matt is something of a journalism school Job, his story is not limited to poignancy. It is also hilarious. Walter has crafted a superb combination of poetic allusion, street 'cred' and modern American family life.Absurd though not unbelievable and warm without being mawkish. It is also comforting in that no problems of mine can quite match those of the Prior family. Likewise, it is a bit of a cautionary tale for those in reduced circumstances who may be looking for a desperate way to save the day!This book was impossible to put down!
gaby317 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Synopsis:Successful throughout his life, Matt Prior finds himself in the unexpected position of being unemployed, deeply in debt and weeks away from losing his home. Things have been difficult at home and he can't bare to tell his wife the true state of their finances. Matt continues with the everyday life - caring for the children, applying for jobs, negotiating with their mortgage lender, and the usual household chores. When one late night, Matt discovers a possible solution - wacky and dangerous though it may be - to solve their financial hell, he decides to give it a go.Review: In Jess Walter's The Financial Lives of the Poets, Matt Prior goes on a hilarious and absurd adventure triggered by today's financial crisis. Matt has his own crooked logic that will leave you chuckling, whether he's plotting ways to sabotage his wife's flirtation with her high school boyfriend or eke revenge against M_ who laid him or finding ways to reassure his father during his slow descent to senility. A fun and crazy ride - highly recommended!Publisher: Harper (September 22, 2009), 304 pages.Review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours.
jo-jo on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I want to start my review by saying that to be totally honest with you, when I started this book I didn't think that I would enjoy it at all. But I found that once I reached the second chapter that I couldn't put this book down! This novel is very timely considering the state of our economy right now, and I could realistically see how easily a story like this could happen to anyone. In a sense this book reminded me of The House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III, in that circumstances were just spinning out of control because of one bad decision.Drug use usually does turn me off, but in this book it seemed so fitting and realistic to me. Who's to say that if the average American is in similar circumstances to Matt's, unemployed, in debt up to his eyeballs and a week from losing his house, that if the opportunity arose he or she wouldn't smoke a little marijuana? Nothing else seemed to work for Matt up to this point, so what did he have to lose? So when Matt meets a couple of guys late one evening at the 7-11, they welcome him back to a way of life that he left behind in his college days.Matt knows that his home life is falling to pieces. As he tries to take care of his father that is suffering from dementia, still send his children to a private school while being unemployed, and try to monitor his wife Lisa's online flirtatious behavior with her old boyfriend Chuck, he just doesn't know how much more he can deal with! After another late night outing at the 7-11 Matt thinks that he may have a temporary solution to his financial problems, but what looks like a quick fix to his dilemma may turn his problems into the worst nightmare he could possibly imagine.If you read the summary above, you can see that Matt's failed business had to do with crafting poetry from financial journalism. He obviously wanted to try to keep the poetry alive in his life, so snippets of verse were inserted in various parts of this novel. Some of the poems were very thoughtful, raw, and honest, while others were just downright hilarious! This book is such a good reminder that we really do need to appreciate the things that we do have. It will make you think that maybe what you have now is really all you need, so why do we always want more? By wanting and getting more we are actually setting ourselves up for failure if a crisis should occur, as it had for Matt. There are so many twists and turns for Matt as we follow him through his life during this time, but they are well worth it. When Matt compares life in general to the game "Jenga", meaning that it could all fall apart at any time, it made me stop and think how true that is for so many Americans right now. This book is well worth reading and may help you to re-assess your own lifestyle. I highly recommend it, but also I feel that I need to disclose that there is a fair amount of drug use and profanity that I know many readers do not appreciate.
Coyote99 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Matt Prior is a wonderful protagonist. Wry, and thoughtful. His inner dialogue is hilarious, and his interactions with his father, sons and wife are consistently on the mark. Certainly, the financial crisis is timely and his solution is as believable as it is misguided. I even enjoyed the poetry!!
BrianaJae on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Ever heard of a website that combines poetry and financial advice? That's because it's a terrible idea. Just ask Matt Prior, a former newspaper business reporter who quit his job in order to start poetfolio.com. Now is completely broke and about to lose his house, his wife and his sanity. So what does he turn to? The logical thing middle-aged men turn to when their life has completely gone down the crapper: weed. This story is so unlike what I was expecting. And still exactly what I wanted. While Jasper Fforde is my favorite author by far, Jess Walter is right up there. Maybe it is because he is a former reporter, so I connect with him and his characters. Maybe it is because I have actually met him and at a book reading he gave a speech about how the newspaper industry was not dead and people who want to be reporters should not give up. Maybe it is because he is just damn good at writing. All of his books are so different from each other, but they are all good. I am going to say this one probably qualifies as one of my favorites, though. The book manages to be both heart-touchingly sad and laugh out loud funny at the same time. It is difficult to achieve this, and I salute Jess for managing it. Even after reading the poetry interspersed throughout the book, however, I am more convinced that getting financial advice from someone writing in verse is a bad, bad, bad idea.
littlegeek on LibraryThing 8 months ago
An amusing little ditty about catastrophes both financial and personal. Made me feel a bit smug that I didn't believe that mortgage broker who wanted me to buy a house I obviously couldn't afford. What in the world were people thinking?! Bonus points for describing a Chihuly chandelier as "horrid."
gsisson on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Hated this - supposed to be funny - dealing drugs as a father is funny??? NOT!
ImBookingIt on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The big questions I had when reading most of this book were "What kind of book is this?" and the highly related "Did the author do this on purpose?"Matthew Prior starts out the book in a 7/11 store, buying milk for his kids. In come a couple of rambunctious young men, making a scene. (Funny. So this is a humorous book). As these young men are playing out their stoned activities, Matt thinks back to his mom in her confused final days, worrying about 7/11, and whether the terrorists would be able to cause another day like it(hmm,so not just a fluff stoned adventure book).And on it goes. Matt is losing his house and his marriage, but this is presented in a funny way (dark humor?). He lost all of their savings on a web site that mixed financial advice and poetry, with some help from his wife and her love for all thing that can be bought on E-Bay (It's got to be satire).As I'm bouncing from one of these thoughts to the next, I keep coming back to the question of whether the author is doing it on purpose-- Particularly once the book stopped being funny.I decided yes, it was deliberate, and very well done. None of us lives just one kind of a life, why should Matt occupy just one kind of a book? It doesn't need a label (other than fiction). It is funny (for a while, at least), thought provoking (all the way through) and a reflection on life and the choices we have and the choices we make.