In "Useless Things," she effectively pegs the circumstances attendant to the financial meltdown in America. She uses setting to effectively add dimension to her characters:
The suburbs are full of walkaway houses--places where homeowners couldn't meet the mortgage payments and just left, the lots now full of trash and windows gone. People who could went north for water. People who couldn't did what people always do when an economy goes soft and rotten: they slid, to rented houses, rented apartments, living in their cars, living with their families, living on the street.
But inside Sherie's parents' home it's still twenty years ago. The countertops are granite. The big-screen plasma TV gets hundreds of channels. The freezer is full of meat and frozen Lean Cuisine. The air conditioner keeps the temperature at a heavenly seventy-five degrees. Sherie's mother, Brenda, is slim, with beautifully styled graying hair. She's a psychologist with a small practice.