Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Houseguest by Thomas Berger

I picked up The Houseguest on a whim a week or so ago when I was browsing at my library. It sounded interesting and somewhat like those Lifetime movies I enjoy so much (you know the one... where the unsuspecting nanny/housekeeper/neighbor turns psycho) so I decided to give it a try. It was somewhat disappointing, though, and I am not sure why I even finished it. I give it a C.

Back cover:
Chuck Burgoyne is no ordinary houseguest. The Graveses (father Doug, wife Audrey, son Bobby, and daughter-in-law Lydia) have gotten used to his polite matters and gourmet breakfasts. But one morning at the Graveses' summer home, Chuck fails to appear.
When Chuck finally does surface, he is no longer sweet and charming, but rathers has become agressive and arrogant, abusing each family member in turn. Each family member, that is, except for the fellow outsider, Lydia. Once Chuck rescues her from the dangerous undertow of the ocean, Lydia can't help but feel obligated to him, even after his uninvited advances to her while she's half asleep. Slowly it becomes apparent to the family that Chuck isn't anyone's guest but rather a perfect stranger who wormed his way into their home. Yet the Graveses are so concerned with not offending him by being impolite that they willingly accept the abuse he freely dishes out. In private, however, they all scheme for his undoing. But will anyone muster up the courage?

This was a short book, only about 240 pages long, but somewhat dry. I admit to some skimming and probably only finished reading it because I wanted to find out the ending and see what happens. None of the characters were particularly likeable and somewhat annoying. The only character I could muster some sympathy for was Lydia, but even that was farfetched. I think I was expecting there to be more of that Lifetime quality and characteristics, but this was more of comedy series that takes a cynical look at manners and the way of life of those who are wealthy and belief themselves to be above others. While I did smile a time or two here and there, I probably won't be checking anything out by Mr. Berger any time soon.

Right now I am trying to decide between another library book or one of my own. I think I am going to lean towards one of my own, though I always like to get through my library books quickly in case someone else is waiting for it. I know how impatient I can get when waiting for a book! :) Hopefully I will get the chance to start something tonight, though I do admit to being somewhat tired and worn out. I hope everyone is having a great weekend and Happy Reading!


Staci said...

It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who tries to hurry through their library loot just in case someone else may be waiting for it!! LOL!! Sorry that this one was a little on the blah's hoping that the next one is better!!!

Literary Feline said...

My husband always rolls his eyes when I settle in to watch a Lifetime movie. :-)

I am sorry The Houseguest turned out to be disappointing, Kristie. I definitely wouldn't want a houseguest like Chuck staying with me!

Kristie said...

Staci, I know how impatient I get when I'm waiting for a book, so I try to be somewhat considerate!

Wendy... I love Lifetime movies but its been awhile since I've watched one!