Book Review: Self Storage – Gayle Brandeis

Title: Self Storage: A Novel
Author: Gayle Brandeis
ISBN: 978-345492616
Pages: 304
Release Date: January 23, 2007
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Library
Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary:

Flan Parker is a little bit addicted to self storage auctions.  When a person renting storage space becomes delinquent in their payments, the contents of the storage unit are auctioned off to the highest bidder.  Flan loves attending these auctions and bidding on the storage units; it helps her escape from the reality that her husband is more interested in watching soap operas than finishing his dissertation.  When Flan begins to take notice of her Afghani neighbors, the reality of the post-9/11 world sets in, and Flan is thrown for a loop.

Review:

Self Storage is one of those novels that caught my eye a long time ago, and that I checked out from the library multiple times.  Now that I’ve finally sat down to read it, I feel it is a well-written novel, but has some major flaws that prevented it from being great.

Flan was definitely an interesting character.  She was passionate, which I loved, but she was also very sexual.  Multiple times, she describes wanting to kiss random men (and women), and she finds some very strange things to be erotic.  This aspect of Flan prevented me from really being able to identify with her.  

Brandeis captured the realities of living in a post-9/11 world extremely well in Self Storage.  Because Flan’s neighbors are Afghani, the neighborhood views them with suspicion.  Even the most innocent acts are interpreted in the harshest light, and people believe them to be terrorists just because of their ethnicity.  Brandeis does a great job with this social commentary, although the events towards the end of the book spiral out of control to a point where the story loses its believability.

Though Self Storage was well-written, I can’t say I truly enjoyed reading it.  I couldn’t identify with Flan and her husband Shae drove me crazy through the course of the book.  I did appreciate Brandeis’ social commentary, but it may have been a little too starkly drawn for my taste.  I would definitely be willing to pick up Brandeis’ other works, but this one was just not for me.

Comments

  1. Thanks for your honest review. You always read such interesting books!

  2. Thanks for your honest review. You always read such interesting books!

  3. Well, you can’t love them all I suppose! I’m going to trust you on this one.

  4. Well, you can’t love them all I suppose! I’m going to trust you on this one.

  5. Hummm. The premise is great but I have so much trouble when I can’t identify with the characters. I usually just give up. So good for you for finishing the novel. If I decide to read this author, I’ll start with something else.

  6. Hummm. The premise is great but I have so much trouble when I can’t identify with the characters. I usually just give up. So good for you for finishing the novel. If I decide to read this author, I’ll start with something else.

  7. You mean you don’t get the urge to run up and kiss random people? That is too funny! I wonder why the author decided to make the character that way? I love the cover – too bad the book isn’t as good.

  8. You mean you don’t get the urge to run up and kiss random people? That is too funny! I wonder why the author decided to make the character that way? I love the cover – too bad the book isn’t as good.

  9. When I saw the cover and the title at first I assumed the book was about well, …different ways to store things!! I recently bought some old vintage suitcases from the 20’s and 30’s to stack up and use for storing craft supplies. Boy was I in for a surprise when I started reading your review – lol!!

  10. When I saw the cover and the title at first I assumed the book was about well, …different ways to store things!! I recently bought some old vintage suitcases from the 20’s and 30’s to stack up and use for storing craft supplies. Boy was I in for a surprise when I started reading your review – lol!!

  11. Another intriguing book. You don’t choose many you don’t like, your so good at choosing books for yourself.

    This one intrigues me, I am going to read more reviews and decide if I want to try it.

  12. Another intriguing book. You don’t choose many you don’t like, your so good at choosing books for yourself.

    This one intrigues me, I am going to read more reviews and decide if I want to try it.

  13. Good thought that a character has to be related with by the reader.
    Book Reviews

  14. Good thought that a character has to be related with by the reader.
    Book Reviews

  15. I think I’d have to read this one just for the cover–it’s great!

  16. I think I’d have to read this one just for the cover–it’s great!

  17. I saw this author on a panel at the festival of books and thought she was an odd one. She made me a bit uncomfortable. Reading your review, I remember her saying something about how she felt sensuality was a defining characteristic of her writing. I can see why she said that now!

  18. I saw this author on a panel at the festival of books and thought she was an odd one. She made me a bit uncomfortable. Reading your review, I remember her saying something about how she felt sensuality was a defining characteristic of her writing. I can see why she said that now!

  19. Wow. This one sounds a bit odd and I don’t think it’s for me. I am really thankful for your honesty in this review, as I had thought if reading this one, and now I am sure that it wouldn’t work for me.

  20. Wow. This one sounds a bit odd and I don’t think it’s for me. I am really thankful for your honesty in this review, as I had thought if reading this one, and now I am sure that it wouldn’t work for me.

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