By February 13, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

The Book of Joe

Book groups often complain that they don’t get to read anything funny.  And it is true that by and large the best books for discussion can be pretty bleak.  Also, people’s senses of humor can be so different.  I wanted to share a funny read that I felt had surprising depth and poignancy.

In Jonathan Tropper’s The Book of Joe, 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 which became a hit film 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 for groups looking for a little levity.

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About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

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