, December 31, 2009
(view all comments by OneMansView)
“Trouble” or “A Fatuous, Vacuous Relationship Guide for the Overly-Educated, the Rich, and the Over-the-Hill Celebrity,” purports to explore how middle-aged lives can crumble and be put back together with minimal effort. Josie, fortyish and a successful, still quite attractive, NYC psychologist, decides while flirting at a gathering that she will immediately end her fifteen-year loveless, stagnate marriage to her college professor husband. To punctuate that, in her new emboldened state, on her way home, she picks up a stranger in a bar for a one-night stand. Simultaneously, her old college roommate Raquel, an aging rock star and sometimes drug addict, is escaping form L.A. to Mexico City from the unflattering publicity of an affair with a man half her age that has gone sour.
Josie’s husband and adopted daughter accept her departure with hard-to-believe calmness, and then she’s off to Mexico to lend moral support to her friend. Most of the book follows Josie and Raquel around Mexico City on the subways and bumpy taxi rides as they meet really cool artists, visit the sites, eat a lot of greasy ethnic food, drink copious amounts of tequila and sangria, come and go at odd hours, attend a bullfight, etc. Of course, there is the obligatory reflecting and agonizing over the past and future. Josie continues her path to self-awakening with an instant attraction to an artist, while Raquel fits the role of the neurotic celebrity who has seen better days.
Given the situations, the book has a feel of superficiality – distanced from reality. In that too-easy vein, when the paparazzi discover Raquel, their pictures are splashed all over the tabloids. Josie’s frozen relationship with her teenage daughter seems to suddenly thaw by her becoming a mini-celebrity. Their Mexican journey has an unfortunate end, but is handled with upper-middle class efficiency, barely stirring an emotion.
The book is an easy, pleasant read and is not without its interests, especially given the author’s obvious knowledge of Mexico City and its culture. However, the characters and their actions don’t seem particularly realistic. Of course, money is no object. Want to buy expensive native art and pay for special shipping to the US? Just do it. The subtitle above sums up the book.