"Model Home" will depress the living heck out of you, if you let it. There are moments of snickering, but for the most part, it's about a family falling apart at the seams and trying desperately to put it back together again. And it's not just falling apart -- it's fragmenting, then decaying, then pieces are falling off along the side of the road while one family member or other patiently gathers then all back up.
The book is told from the point of view of each of the family members, allowing you to really get into the hearts of problems, the depths of the dreams, and the end results of the tragedies. It basically starts with a father whose real estate career has completely fallen apart, and not only has he been forced to live in the unfinished development he was shilling (built beside a toxic waste dump) as the only resident, he's had to resort to selling knives in trailer parks. There's a band called Toxic Shock Syndrome, a son who runs away to end up smack in the middle of the craziest Dead Head concert followers I've ever heard of, and an explosion. They've living in a model home, living everything BUT the model life.
No, this isn't a knee-slapper (although you'll find yourself laughing, occasionally inappropriately), but it IS worth reading.
Read January 2011