Synopses & Reviews
The hilarious and irreverent debut novel about a modern Everyman struggling to learn how to love, choose, and commit on his own terms, from the highly acclaimed singer and songwriter.
From the first moment he met Jocelyn, he knew he would marry her or destroy his life trying. He didn't count on being the lucky bastard that got to do both.
It's October 1996 in Cape Cod. Our hero — a narrator so ordinary that he remains nameless — is a talented but floundering musician-turned waiter who has hightailed it out of a volatile day-old marriage in New York and further into his own ever-deepening mess. With no job, no apartment, no wife, and a six pack of beer, he's looking for a clean slate. For years he's been dodging life's extremes, stuck somewhere between responsibility and freedom, love and obsession, obligation and desire, apathy and success. Now he's seeking sanctuary at the home that his sister abandoned, along with her marriage, so that he can sort out something in his life — what, he's not quite sure.
Looking for distraction from his memories of the hot-blooded Jocelyn, who is still refusing to return his calls, he agrees to look after his two-year-old nephew. Together, the unlikely pair catches the attention of Marie, a young woman in the neighborhood with a troubled past of her own. As they get to know each other, our hero ventures into unknown territory, where his affection for a damaged kindred spirit just might shock him awake and shake him to the core.
By turns hilariously irreverent and unpredictably affecting, It Feels So Good When I Stop is a disarmingly fresh love story and coming-of-age novel that refracts with pristine clarity what it's like to grow up, and to fall and stay in love in the real world.
"Much like its unnamed narrator, Pernice's first novel ambles in no discernable direction, nudging up against tantalizing stories but never quite connecting. In it, the narrator retreats to a Cape Cod cabin, owned by his sister's ex-husband, after fleeing a days-old marriage. He then spends his time interacting with townsfolk; reminiscing about Jocelyn, his abandoned bride; babysitting his infant nephew; and assisting an alluring neighbor in coming to terms with her tragic past. The author, a noted musician, seeks to emphasize the ordinariness of his main character by leaving him anonymous, but the man is not ordinary at all he is, in fact, pathologically aimless. He can never quite say why he left Jocelyn and has no idea what he hopes to accomplish in his exile; worse, there is no sense that he has any desire to find out. The main supporting characters, ex-brother-in-law James and neighbor Marie, are more compelling than the narrator, but of course their scenes are marred by the narrator's necessary presence. Pernice's easygoing prose is attractive, but the fetishizing of slackerdom is a make-or-break proposition." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"One can accept, reluctantly, Pernice's apparently inexhaustible ability to knock out brilliant three-minute pop songs — Just about any Pernice Brothers record contains half a dozen tunes comparable to Elvis Costello's best work. But now it turns out he can write fiction too, and so envy and bitterness become unavoidable." Nick Hornby, The Believer
"Observed with impeccable clarity, It Feels So Good When I Stop is a very funny, profoundly human novel, perfectly attuned to the quotidian grotesque of 21st-century America." William Gibson, author of Spook Country
"Quite a remarkable piece of writing. Acidic, profane and easily one of the most lethal and unrelentingly hilarious books that I have ever read." Jonathan Poneman, President of Sub Pop Records
Its more than just the debut novel from the acclaimed singer and songwriter-it's "the best messed up love song you'll ever read." (Dan Palladino and Amy Sherman-Palladino, creators of The Gilmore Girls)
Our hero is a talented but floundering musician with no job, no apartment, no wife (anymore), and a six-pack of beer. Stuck between responsibility and freedom, and apathy and success, he's seeking sanctuary at his sister's home in Cape Cod, agreeing to look after his two-year old nephew. Together the unlikely pair attracts the attention of a lovely young woman with a broken past all her own and the ability to shock our hero awake-or shake him to his core.
About the Author
Joe Pernice began his recording career in the mid-1990’s with the Scud Mountain Boys, in Northampton, Massachusetts. They released two records before signing to Seattle's Sub Pop Records in 1996 and releasing Massachusetts, along with The Early Year, a compilation of the two pre-Sub Pop recordings. In 1997, he disbanded the Scuds Mountan Boys to form The Pernice Brothers, and released their debut album Overcome By Happiness. While with the Sub Pop label Pernice also recorded under his own name, issuing the album Big Tobacco in 1999, and as Chappaquiddick Skyline, who issued their sole self-titled album in 2000.
Later that year Pernice left Sub Pop Records and he and his longtime manager Joyce Linehan established Ashmont Records, based in Boston, where they have released several Pernice Brothers records: The World Won’t End (2001), Yours, Mine and Ours (2003), Nobody's Watching/Nobody's Listening live album and DVD (2004), Discover a Lovelier You (2005) and Live a Little (2006).
Joe Pernice's music has been featured on television shows Six Feet Under and The Gilmore Girls, where Joe also made 45-second appearance as a troubadour-wannabe in a 2006 episode, and in the movies Fever Pitch, On Broadway and Slaughterhouse Rule. Additionally, his songs have been featured in commercials for Sears, Southern Comfort and Sherwin-Williams.
Pernice grew up in the Boston area, and attended UMass Amherst, where he received an MFA in Creative Writing. He currently lives in Toronto.