Sunday, August 16, 2009

Read-it-First: The Husband Habit

Last week, the St. Martin's Read-it-First selection was The Husband Habit, by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez.

Vanessa Duran, the heroine of the novel (I only refer to her as such since that is the word used to describe her in the first paragraph), a chef in New Mexico, has a sad habit of unwittingly falling for married men. At the start of the novel, she is accosted by the wife of her current soul mate. Embarrassed and unsure of herself, she throws herself into her work. This is pure chic lit and from what I previewed, it seems like it would be a light read. The cover of the book references Paul – supposedly her final paramour in the dating game; however, he was not introduced in the pages I read. Will he make the book better?

I must say that I was instantly put off by this book and by the fifth paragraph, I decided that I didn't want to read it; however, I did read the full twenty five page preview – hoping things would improve. They did not. The author has a habit of heavily peppering the story with fragmented and one word sentences. I am sure that this was done intentionally; however, I found it bothersome. Putting this aside, I did not like Vanessa and found the descriptions to be … not sure how to say it – blech – they just rubbed me the wrong way. The following excerpt is an example.

Vanessa, mind clear as a drink of water, steps into the bathroom, gets slapped in the forcibly peaceful face by the foul hand of fetidness. Like a woolly mammoth took a dump in here, and died promptly after. Metaphor, dear universe? She takes the symbolism and twists it through her body. Bad things coming. Cement. Excrement. Experiment. Disillusionment. Wonders what is meant. Wonders what she has gotten herself into. Wonders why hope, of all things, has, so far, smelled so rancid. Reminds herself to stop. "Stop." Overthinking. Every. Little. Thing. Jesus. Walks across the curiously wet and rotted tiles of the bathroom floor, hopes the "eau du" dead mammoth will not stick to her shoes like toilet paper.

Looking forward to the next preview!


  1. Sounds. pretty. bad.

    But enjoyable review!!!

  2. Hmmm...that excerpt was really awful. I think I would skip to too. And just the fact that she makes a habit of loving other women's husbands doesn't make me want to root for her. That woolly mammoth metaphor was just weird and offputting.

  3. Thanks for your honest review, Cathy.

  4. This was a tough one - I always feel really bad when I don't like a book.

  5. Overusing. One. Word. Sentences.

    Once or twice, okay, but that one paragraph overtakes my tolerance.

  6. It does sound like a difficult read. Glad i read your review, i don't want to spend time reading an awful book when there are soooo many good ones!
    Had to laugh at Michaels comment, good. one. LOL!
    Natalie :0)

  7. Hi Cathy,
    I have a BINGO award for you: