The Book of Joe Author:Jonathan Tropper 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,... more » 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.
I was reminded of a recent tv series when I got this book..the basic premise being an author who wrote a potboiler about his hometown and then returns home years later to interact with estranged friends and family. No, it isn't original, but the characters are dimensional and real and the plot line entertaining. Joe, the main character, is flawed and not always such a nice person, but the reader is drawn to him because he embodies a certain humanity we all share. The tone of the book kept me reading for long periods of time and the end was satisfying.
I find myself having a hard time deciding how many stars to give Jonathan Tropper's Book of Joe. On the one hand, the book is beautifully written and well told. The plot moves along at a fast pace and the characters are well-defined, if not a little caricaturist. And yet, throughout the entire novel I couldn't help having the slightest feeling of déjà vu. It was like I had heard it all before. Oh sure, there were the occasional plot twists, and I even found myself wiping away a tear at a certain point near the end. But when I put the book down I couldn't see myself ever wanting to read it again.
The book follows the main character (aptly named Joe, if you hadn't caught that yet), as he returns to the hometown he shamelessly slandered in a best-selling, if not Oprah-worthy, debut novel. His father has suffered a stroke (original, I know), and so the prodigal son returns (again, that nauseous déjà vu is rising up). Everyone in town hates him now, from his brother (who never liked him anyway) to the town sheriff (who uhh, never liked him anyway) to his ex-girlfriend (who...well, you get the idea). What transpires are a series of events that I'm sure you can guess at considering he just returned to a town full of people who ... don't ... like ... him. He now has to come face to face with the destruction he wrought on the small town and the bitter and tawdry souls he left behind.
After mulling it over for far longer than one would think necessary, these are my conclusions as to why The Book of Joe is better left on the shelf:
Tropper tries too hard for shock value too much of the time. Case in point, the very first sentence of the book: "Just a few scant months after my mother's suicide, I walked into the garage, looking for my baseball glove, and discovered Cindy Posner on her knees, animatedly performing fellatio on my older brother, Brad." I understand all too well the need for a poignant and catching opening sentence, but any opening line containing the word fellatio just comes across as overkill.
The characters experience no growth. I like to see the characters I've invested my reading time in to learn and grow and mature and become thriving healthy beings. Or at least more interesting beings by book's end. I didn't see this happening. Furthermore, the characters were so.....soap opera-ish. Everyone was either taking their clothes off or throwing punches or doing drugs or gay. Or all of the above. It all got a little tedious and overbearing.
So, in conclusion, if you do read this book, I think you'll find it interesting and entertaining and even enjoyable, even if it has all been done before. Just don't go reading it expecting it to alter your life or change your outlook on the world. Unless déjà vu is life altering for you, then yeah, expect great things.
This is a fantastic book. The main character is an author who got his revenge on his hometown through a thinly-disguised fictional best-seller. When his father falls ill, he has to return home to face the music with some and try to reconnect with others. The characters are just amazing. This is one of those books that leaves you wanting just one more chapter; I didn't want it to end.
This is an interesting book that follows the life of a writer who has been less than kind to his home town. It is filled with witty retorts and also meaningful experiences. It was not the best story I have read as it seemed that it was trying to hard. The comedic parts came easily and natural while the more dramatic parts struggled and felt pushed.
I loved reading this book. The character development is fantastic and it is very funny. I was very engaged with Joe from the beginning until the end of the book and felt empathy for what he was struggling to adjust to in his life. The author is a very strong writer and keeps the reader fully engaged from beginning to end. Strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves mature writing.
Joe Goffman has returned to his small Connecticut hometown because his father is in the hospital in a coma. Joe hasn't been back in 17 years and he isn't exactly welcomed home. You see, he wrote a book that was turned into a movie which was all about his senior year in high school - the summer of 1986. And though Joe insists his book is a work of fiction, there's a lot of truth to the stories and characters that it contains. Small towns are rife with secrets and Joe has gone and spilled the beans to the whole world - with some added embellishments. So it's no surprise that he's returned to a town where angry book club members throw his books at his father's house, he's beat up by some of the basketball players of years past, and his car is systematically vandalized.
And yet, he stays. Joe has spent the past 17+ years trying to forget about where he came from, but in coming home he can't stop thinking about it.
Equal parts funny and sad, it's written in Tropper's style of wry humor and touching descriptions; you can't help but stick with it and watch Joe (finally) grow up.
Labor Day crept in with the stealth of a cat burglar in the dead of night, and when we woke up, summer had been stolen right out from under us. (p.77)