The Cure for Modern Life - Lisa Tucker Radnor Library was closed on Saturday and I am a little bit mad at them because I forgot to anticipate this and was stuck with very few options for reading material in my apartment...to the "Never Got Around to Reading Pile" we go and away we come with a bit of a turd.

Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh but this was really just not a good book. The story was a little on the trite side: Matthew allows two homeless children -- Danny, 10, and Isabella, 3 -- into his apartment late one night while he is high on E because Isabella is sick. He passes out before the situation can get sorted out, and wakes up to discover that their drug addict mother has robbed him and left the kids behind. Matthew's got to catch a flight to Tokyo but Isabella is still asleep so he tells Danny to get out once she wakes up. Predictably, Danny decides to take advantage of the fact that Matthew's going to be out of town for a week and has a swanky apartment with electricity and food and a bed.

Then there's the situation between Matthew, his best friend Ben and his ex/Ben's current girlfriend Amelia. Amelia and Ben broke up, essentially, because Amelia had ethical issues with Matthew's decision to abandon med school for a career as a pharmaceutical exec. Knowing that Ben always had a crush on Amelia, Matthew decides to play matchmaker. Amelia's convinced that he did it to prevent her from protesting a medicine made by Matthew's company, which could also hurt Ben.

I don't know, it was hard to follow.

The major problem with this book is the characters. It's like Tucker decided to write this book and sat down to do the Creative Writing 101 character sketches but decided to rush through them and only got the roughest, briefest idea of who these people are. I want to say they're cookie-cutter, but that's in inaccurate adjective. It's just that their actions and motives aren't believable to me, and I'm frustrated by how they see the world in such black-and-white terms. Especially Amelia. From the get-go, she assumes that Matthew has sinister intentions for every action but she's the one intentionally trying to bring down his company. Gah! She irritated me so much, and I really didn't get why she continued to interact with Matthew on any level. Matthew could be bizarrely sinister at times, and I was never sure what he was up to. I really super didn't understand Matthew's motivation for having Danny and Isabella pose as children he intends to adopt, just to show off to Amelia and Ben that he can be a grown-up.

So: Convoluted plot and unlikable, half-assed characters. Not a great start to this year. Also, once I leave Philadelphia this summer, I am never reading a novel that takes place here ever again.