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The Book of Joe

by

The Book of Joe Cover

 

Staff Pick

Capturing the sensitivity felt for one's home town and the repercussions of the callow time warp known as "high school," this little novel is the kind of book you just want to put into the hands of every male you grew up with and a few you know now.
Recommended by Donna, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Right after high school, Joe Goffman left sleepy Bush Falls, Conneticut and never looked back. Then he wrote a novel savaging everything in town, a novel that became a national bestseller and a huge hit movie. Fifteen years later, Joe is struggling to avoid the sophomore slump with his next novel when he gets a call: his father's had a stroke, so it's back to Bush Falls for the town's most famous pariah. His brother avoids him, his former classmates beat him up, and the members of the book club just hurl their copies of Bush Falls at his house. But with the help of some old friends, Joe discovers that coming home isn't all bad — and that maybe the best things in life are second chances.

Fans of Nick Hornby and Jennifer Weiner will love this book, by turns howlingly funny, fiercely intelligent, and achingly poignant. As evidenced by The Book of Joe's success in both the foreign and movie markets, Jonathan Tropper has created a compelling, incredibly resonant story.

Review:

"A beautifully crafted book of enormous heart, humility, wit, honesty, and vulnerability. You want to call your friends at 3:00 AM and read whole passages out loud. You want to press it into the hands of strangers. You cannot stop thinking about it because it has rearranged your very molecules. You know that kind of book? This is that kind of book. The Book of Joe is utterly magnificent. I wish I'd written it myself." Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors

Review:

"[L]ight but solid....Some sprinkles of excellence." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"The Book of Joe is an elegiac, wickedly observant look at a small town and its secrets. In Jonathan Tropper's highly readable novel, the problem isn't that you can't go home again, it's that eventually you have to, whether you like it or not." Tom Perrotta, author of Election and Joe College

Synopsis:

Wickedly funny, piercingly intelligent, and achingly poignant, The Book Of Joe illuminates the intricacies of family, friendship, and lost love. Film rights have been optioned by Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston's production company.

About the Author

Jonathan Tropper lives in New Rochelle, New York, with his family. He is currently at work on his second novel for Bantam Dell.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

lukas, February 2, 2015 (view all comments by lukas)
No it's not as good as his best book, "This is Where I Leave You," but it's still worthwhile. As with his other books, Tropper deftly navigates between comic moments and melancholy ones. The scenario is a bit contrived (a man who wrote a scandalous book about his small town returns to visit his dying father and runs into people from his past), but Tropper pulls it off in a way that is funny, heartfelt, and insightful.
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OneMansView, March 18, 2009 (view all comments by OneMansView)
Is going home more fantasy than reality? (3.75*s)

Regardless of its merits, this is a cliché-laden book: a small town obsessed with the success of high school sports and a predominating jock culture; parental favoritism shown towards the star player son compared to the smart, non-athlete younger brother; the community-sanctioned hostility shown towards those with unacceptable sexual orientations; the convenient discovery of a like-minded, non-jock-oriented first girlfriend who has been in the background for years; and of course the fantastical inspiration of the exotic mother of a friend . This is the stereotypical, stultifying culture that Joe Goffman escaped and then later skewered in a best selling novel.

Though more or less estranged from his family, his father’s stroke some seventeen years after he left for college brings Joe back to Bush Falls. Although anticipating that his critical and financial success and his revelations concerning scarcely-fictionalized towns-people in his novel would have caused resentment, the aggression that he encounters is over the top: hard stares, physical assaults on him and his property, shadowing by the local cop, a former classmate, and the like.

However, moving beyond the excessiveness and the clichés, the book does have something to say about what returning home can mean, the importance of family, and realizing the necessity of digging beneath the surface to understand one’s self and others, even those who may be antagonistic. It’s the people, both old and new, that Joe meets that changes his visit from being merely perfunctory to one far more significant and emotional: Brad, his athlete brother, has a family situation that is in turmoil; Jared, Brad’s son, is a pleasant surprise, not only in seeing though the sports-obsession of his father and the town, but also in providing support for Joe; Wayne, his best friend from high school, is dying from AIDS; and Carly, the only love of his life, is the editor of the town’s newspaper but has suffered much from her previous, abusive marriage.

The book is an easy, mostly enjoyable, read and the characters are, for the most part, sympathetic. Though, as indicated, there are elements of insightfulness, overall it has to be said that the book lacks depth and plays loose with reality. Excessive and violent behavior usually has consequences; years of enmity are not easily put aside; self-discovery and the loosening of writer’s block are not easy; and it’s usually very difficult to rekindle relationships that have lain dormant from teenage years to mid-thirties. Also, the book is not particularly humorous, as indicated by others.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
hn507, July 16, 2007 (view all comments by hn507)
One of the best books i've ever read!
This book not only goes through the struggles of high school but also the struggles of going back home.
The saying you can never go home again has never been so prominant.
The book tells the story of Joe, his two best (gay) friends and his girlfriend's senior year in high school intimicinetly with Joes uncomfortable home coming after writting a vicious book about the place and the people in it. Including seeing people he loved, lusted after and loathed back in 1987.
This book is well written and you really get a grasp on how the characters feel and how they all relate to one another through the eyes of joe.
A must read, i couldn't put it down.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385338103
Author:
Tropper, Jonathan
Publisher:
Bantam
Subject:
General
Subject:
City and town life
Subject:
Fathers and sons
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20050131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.20x5.62x.81 in. .66 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Book of Joe Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Delta - English 9780385338103 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Capturing the sensitivity felt for one's home town and the repercussions of the callow time warp known as "high school," this little novel is the kind of book you just want to put into the hands of every male you grew up with and a few you know now.

"Review" by , "A beautifully crafted book of enormous heart, humility, wit, honesty, and vulnerability. You want to call your friends at 3:00 AM and read whole passages out loud. You want to press it into the hands of strangers. You cannot stop thinking about it because it has rearranged your very molecules. You know that kind of book? This is that kind of book. The Book of Joe is utterly magnificent. I wish I'd written it myself."
"Review" by , "[L]ight but solid....Some sprinkles of excellence."
"Review" by , "The Book of Joe is an elegiac, wickedly observant look at a small town and its secrets. In Jonathan Tropper's highly readable novel, the problem isn't that you can't go home again, it's that eventually you have to, whether you like it or not."
"Synopsis" by , Wickedly funny, piercingly intelligent, and achingly poignant, The Book Of Joe illuminates the intricacies of family, friendship, and lost love. Film rights have been optioned by Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston's production company.
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