on January 14, 2011
Waiting for Joe. Sandra Birdsell has crafted a masterpiece. She has created two characters you won't soon forget. Laurie and Joe made big money and blew it. Now they are living in a stolen, clapped-out RV on a Wal-mart parking lot. Laurie is an impulse shopper, a fashionista and home decorator, a collector of objects, the epitome of the shallow, media-driven, over-merchandized 21st century. Even though she no longer has money, Laurie is unable to stop spending. Joe, once the golden boy, alternates between fits of rage, self pity and the desire to leave. The couple stand in contrast to Joe's father, Alfred, a tough old bird who survived Japanese prison camps and is now surviving the indignities that arrive near life's end. Neither Laurie or Joe can stick to a plan. They live by impulse. But they are not cardboard cut-outs. They are real people with families, childhood histories, past tragedies and loves. This is a rock-hard book but fortunately, it has an up-beat ending. Written by Joan Baril
on August 6, 2014
The story begins well; it feels like Laurie and Joe must each be on the point of some serious self-discovery. Laurie especially needs to admit they're broke and understand the part her flagrant self-indulgence has played in the current distress. I'm expecting someone here would get a handle on something so I could get a handle why I'm reading this book.
On the up side, the story was well told. It's obvious Sandra Birdsell has writing talent and can hold your interest. However, I did skip some of the many flashbacks. She does well with these but I just don't enjoy a lot of past detail thrown in that doesn't move the current story line forward.
Joe takes off, meets up with some odd people, including old friends who've evolved into Jimmy & Tammy Faye the Second. But at the point where it seems Joe & Laurie must grow up and face some serious truths, the book fast-forwards several years. Joe has sort of gotten a handle on the truth that money isn't the most important thing in life. Laurie has gotten her hands on a pile of inheritance money to rescue her from having to grow up and face reality; she's merrily spending her way through it as the curtains close. I never got a handle on what I gained from reading this.