Saturday, July 31, 2010

Town House by Tish Cohen

4.5 Star

Jack Madigan, an agoraphobic single father, is living in the house his own single rock and roll legend father raised him in until he died when Jack was a child. With his father’s royalty cheques decreasing with each payment, Jack is suddenly about to lose his house. The one he can’t step out of.  Unless it’s after a handful of pills and accompanied by his teenage son, Harlan, whose affection for everything 1970’s includes shag carpeting on his bedroom ceiling. An unexpected visit from the ankle biting girl next door, the sudden presence of the ever chatty real estate agent assigned with selling his house and Harlan’s potential departure from his home force him to take a look outside and consider facing his fears. 

Lydia - 4 Star

Town House was a fun, quirky novel.  It was witty, full of tender moments, laughs and unforgettable characters. The characters were so well drawn, which they had to be as much of the novel takes place in one location – the Town House - that I could picture them perfectly and many will be remain memorable.

Cohen deftly draws the characters in Town House, making this ensemble of eccentrics unforgettable. Their flaws make them seem real and recognizable and the townhouse itself seems to be a character with its own unique personality and history. I could picture them all perfectly and the plot, although predictable, rolled along smoothly.

This novel held emotion as well as humour, from Jack’s struggle with his fear, to the love for his son and the flame still burning for ex-wife. His tenderness towards the little girl next door, Lucinda, who was probably my favourite character, was touching and I loved their relationship. 

I look forward to reading more Tish Cohen and can’t wait to pick up The Truth About Delilah Blue sitting in my to-be-read pile!
Kathryn - 5 Star

Fascinating story platform for this novel and although I found Jack’s agoraphobia a bit depressing I was impressed that Cohen still made the story lively and positive because of the quirky cast of characters.

The most fascinating relationship for me was between Jack and his teenage son Harlan and it occurred to me that this was perhaps because I’ve come across very little father/son communication without female input.  It was great to have their bond be so close despite Jack’s limitations and Harlan’s teenage moodiness and I liked it being just the two of them relying on each other. Their dialogue also gave us an idea of how rich Jack’s possibilities could be as a father (and in other aspects of his life) if he could only overcome his past.  The introduction of the little girl next door is also a window into Jack’s feelings and she’s a pretty odd little kid too- she mirrored a lot of how I would guess Jack felt as a child but was really funny and lively.

I was on the edge of my seat waiting for Jack to suddenly figure out that the world outside his front porch wasn’t going to kill him and I suppose families of people with this illness are always hoping the same thing.  Although this probably doesn’t always work out I was hopeful for Jack throughout and grew attached to all the personalities in this great novel.

Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for our review copy! All opinions are our own.

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  1. Sounds like a great read! Will have to put this one on my toppling TBR wishlist!

  2. I just finished it last night and enjoyed it.



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