I can't remember if I blogged about this before. If I did, forgive me.
I read T.C. Boyle's The Tortilla Curtain last year, and it knocked me off my feet. Everything about it was so totally plausible to me — I knew people like the ones he was writing about, I knew the monied environmentalists that make up one half of his cast, and I had watched and wondered about the Hispanic immigrants that make up the other half. To me, it was a completely mind-blowing book, and the world looked different to me when I was done reading it. I felt like I understood something about people that I hadn't understood before, which is why I read, and why I write.
I loaned it to a friend of mine, and she thought it was satire. She had trouble getting into it, because to her the characters and the situations they found themselves in were so completely unbelievable as to be ridiculous.
My friend and I don't always like the same books, and that's okay — we recommend and loan to each other specifically because we're likely to find something outside our norm. But that time we seemed to have read two completely different books, and it puzzled me.
Over at SFWriters.com, Marie Brennan has an excellent post on how this may have happened.