The Husband HabitAlisa Valdes-Rodriguez
(St. Martin's Press · $24.95)
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, former reporter for the Albuquerque Tribune, has churned out another book as part of her chick-lit moneymaking machine. This one's called The Husband Habit. Because I forced myself to read it, I know that it's about Vanessa Duran, a chef at an upscale Albuquerque restaurant. And—wouldn't you know it?—she has the unlucky habit of unknowingly dating married men. What is a thirtysomething to do? Swear off men, that's what! Of course, that's when a handsome man enters the scene. I wonder what happens?
The Husband Habit is notable only for being set in Burque. (Some of the characters went to Eldorado, some to Del Norte!) Though this book is ostensibly written for women, the female characters are unlikable and uninteresting. The novel's slight attempt at being something more than a cut-and-dried romance comes in the form of Vanessa learning that her snap judgments of the handsome man (Dave? Steve? I can't bear the thought of picking up the book again to find out) were wrong. It's not that, upon seeing he's an Iraq War veteran, she realizes someone with different beliefs than hers can be worth her time. Instead, it turns out he has the same belief system as hers! And knows a lot about gourmet food! Whew; almost had to re-evaluate some preconceptions there.
There is more to hate: The cartoonish boss, the drama involving Vanessa's parents that seems to be important but is later completely dropped, the lines like “Men totally suck.” But frankly, if you're Valdes-Rodriguez' target audience, you're going to read The Husband Habit no matter what I say. So, keeping in spirit with the author's allusion to Albuquerque's “juvenile alternative weekly,” I’ll say this: I'd rather snort a basket of dog farts than have to read this again.
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez will spend July touring restaurants throughout the state as part of her book tour. If this sounds appealing to you a) God help you and b) find out more at her website, sites.google.com/site/thehusbandhabit.