Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper

I loved this book. It was everything that I was looking for. It was funny while having surprising depth and poignancy.

Joe Goffman returns to Bush Falls, Connecticut when his father is hospitalized by a stroke. But Joe hasn't been back to Bush Falls for seventeen years, and with good reason. He had a miserable time growing up there in the wake of his mother's suicide and his father's disappointment that he didn't become, like his father and older brother, a basketball star. Joe chronicled his rage at his town's small-minded ways in his debut novel and is now universally hated by his old neighbors. Needless to say, this complicates Joe's visit. (And make no mistake, Joe has a pretty Job-like ability to bring misfortune into his life.) Add to that an old high school flame that he has never gotten over, an old friend dying of AIDS, a vindictive bully, countless '80's and Bruce Springsteen references, and a main protagonist who is 34-going-on-18 and you've got the general idea.

This is a witty, compulsive read.

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