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This is Not a Flophouse - K.I. Hope I’ve been sleeping with famous Goodreads Author K.I. Hope for almost a month and a half now, so I probably can’t write an unbiased review of her work. I’m specially thanked in this book, and in her inscription to me, Ms. Hope *finally* proposed (I said “yes!” it's romaaaaaaantic!). So, a lot of important, sentimental memories revolve around Flophouse. Pretty fitting for the book itself, I think. As an objective reviewer, though, who takes her job very, very seriously, I think I can tell you that this book is a philosophical, reflective, jaded portrait of American society. K.I. Hope is Norman Rockwell’s spiritual doppelganger.

I think this book is a misfit drama after the tradition of Carson McCullers. In A Love Song for Bobby Long, Pursy asks Bobby why he gave her mother a copy of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. He answers, “This is stories of misfits . . . invisible people. It's beautiful.” I would describe Flophouse just like that. It is about misfits and invisible people. And if they make it into a movie, I hope they cast Gabriel Macht as Maslow. That’s not a note about the book, but it’s important nonetheless.

Unfortunately, Carson McCullers really isn’t my bag. If she is your bag, Flophouse will probably make you break into rapturous song while you are reading it (or stare despondently into the void, or whatever McCullers fans are allowed to do to express appreciation). It has that unflinching griminess contrasted with carnivalesque weirdness that McCullers does so well.

My personal problem with this type of book is that I don’t feel like I ever get a proper perspective on the characters. There is no comfort and enjoyment to contrast the unpleasantness and evil. The characters don’t go from comedy to tragedy; they go from unpleasantness to evil. So, I don’t get that sense of surprise or drama that I get from the larger contrast in a comedy-to-tragedy story; and, I'm not good at picking up on the more subtle contrast between unpleasant and evil. I pretty much expect the worst the whole time because all the characters are assholes. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t actually hate any of these characters, but I was largely indifferent to their struggles because they were perpetual and monochromatic. There were moments, yes, where I felt real compassion for them, but mostly I felt detached because the ugliness was continuous. Although there was also definitely some flash-bang to this book, it was flashing and banging through a dirty window.

Also, Ms. Hope suggested I mention that at the beginning of the story, one of the characters has carpet in her kitchen and is really careful about not crushing it. But, it's carpet in your kitchen, lady! What do you think is going to happen to it? It just gives you this sense of menace. brrr. Things that start with protecting kitchen carpet can't lead to anything good.

The calculation I made to come up with the star rating, if you want to know about it, was (objective quality – personal enjoyment + marriage proposal) x (A - Q) / (October + March) = four stars. The last thing I would like to tell you is that K.I. Hope is a fucking hilarious person. I don’t think her comedic genius is fairly represented in either of her two novels, except for a couple of parts in this book. I’m copying one of them here because I almost LOLed at it (I prolly would have if I hadn’t been so depressed by the context).

Never had anything so blasphemous been uttered under this roof. The roof of the home which was so holy to Joe and Mary it might have been constructed by Jesus himself. Jesus, the Mexican immigrant who patched holes in their roof last year after the flood, had commented on the bounty of crucifixes hanging inside the home, figuring that only the cruelest of sinners would show such displays of their affections for God.

Just a little taste of the cleverness for which you’re in store when you check out this gem.