Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ovenman” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  227 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Skateboarder, punk rocker, kitchen slave, and general ne’er-do-well with a slightly tarnished heart of gold, When Thinfinger tries mightily to survive a seemingly endless round of troubles in small-town Florida. After getting fired from his job at the Barbie-Q, he lands a gig at the hippest pizza joint in town, where he soon becomes the leader of a disheveled crew. He’s th ...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published August 28th 2007 by Tin House Books
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ovenman, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ovenman

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 401)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This book let me down.
Punk rock, skateboarding, pizza, partying, food service jobs, crap tattoos....this book reflected my teenage years. Yet somehow I could not relate to it or any of the characters. Maybe because I didn't grow up in 90's Florida, but if that's the case then the author didn't do his job properly because he made a book specifically for one small audience instead of creating a story that everyone could relate too and enjoy.
I was excited about reading it at first and especially af
Logan Doyle
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It made me laugh quit a bit. I worked in the serving industry for 9 years and could relate to a lot of the charactors in the novel. Even biodad.

I was about halfway through still wondering where this is going? What's the point of having written this book? It comes around. The number of people like When out there will astound you. There are so many versions of him in this industry, male female, cooks, servers.. hell even Managers. I would rather have see
I'm a native Floridian and found a lot of dry humor in this book. It's an enjoyable read.
I was disappointed in this book. It
Started out awful. Got a little better then ended in a big flop. The main character literally gets drunk every night and blacks out at the age of 16. (Give or take) The only time the author does anything to capture the reader is when he describes some boarding moves or "hip" punk bands/ moves they use when partying. Overall pretty poor book. If I didn't buy this book for a few cents from my local library I wouldn't of finished it. Not a re read in my opinion.
Antihero When Thinfinger is a bit of a loser, although a lovable one. After being kicked out of the house by his parents for accidentally getting both arms covered in horribly mangled tattoos, 15-year-old When found himself forced to take a job in fast food and has been there ever since. Although a bit of a maestro in a restaurant, he's basically hapless in everything else. He's a skater who keeps losing his boards; his bulimic girlfriend sleeps in the living room, plagued by dreams that he's tr ...more
I'm usually prejudiced against twenty-something male slackers, but the narrator of Ovenman is incredibly likeable and warm-hearted. What's most impressive about this novel is the voice; it's very distinct from the first page, which is a rare quality. Funny, insightful, and surprisingly honest.

The novel is well-paced, has great dialogue, and the relationship between the narrator and his girlfriend seems very real. Also, it's cool to read a novel about skaters and the early 90s. It was like a keyh
Jeff Lanter
Ovenman has a demographic. People who lived from the 90's, know skateboarding, know punk rock, and have visited Florida (and not just the beaches). If you're like me and almost all of these things apply to you, this book is likely to be relatable and to entertain. Jeff Parker really captures the aimless feel of these characters living day to day. From drunken escapades to acting on the fly, Thinfinger is an enjoyable character to follow through life. While the ending was both very satisfying and ...more
The jacket calls Ovenman's protagonist, When, a "ne-er-do-well." I think that's hilarious. When himself would fail utterly to be either offended or flattered by the term; not because he doesn't know what it means, just because it's so far outside his personal realm of thought. It's so something his girlfriend's dad would say.

I got very excited about this book. It's all about voice, told in a voice that's beautifully consistent in humor, sadness, and strangeness. It is a fast, funny read. My onl
William Powhida
My collaborator and fellow instigator Jeff Parker got his first novel published last year. I failed to get my cover design on this book, but you can still see the partial remains in the background of the school bus yellow. It's probably more appropriate, that failure, to the spirit of the book than anything else.

It's the story about a dude with bad tattoos trying to figure out how he ended up with such bad tattoos. If history is written on the skin then When Thinfinger has had a real bad deal a
Karen Germain
I have mixed feelings about this book. It started out strong and I appreciated some of the dry humor. Overall, I think the characters and the situation grew a little long, the last third of the book started to drag. It sort of redeemed itself with the ending. I really liked the last two pages. I think that this book had enough style and qualities that I liked and I would give Jeff Parker another shot.

I liked this quote from Sam Lipsyte wrote in the forward, "Slackerdom's one thing. Slacking is q
Found this book by accident and ended up being so pleasantly surprised. Very funny, well written, great read
I was a little wary of the book since the intro was written by Sam Lipsythe- and his book Homeland made me too uncomfortable to finish reading. However, I decided to open my mind to the genre I like to refer to as 'depressed white guy narrative'. Glad I did.

There were a few characters that weren't fully formed for me; I could never really picture Marigold. But this book is solid- it's a story; I like stories. I spend all my time writing 3rd person science writing. So in my free time, I love to
I wasn't sure whether to give this book a 4 or 5 star rating. Not in my top 100 I guess, but really I had such fun reading it that I went ahead and gave 5. The first person narrative voice is spot-on, something that is pretty hard to pull off for such a quirky persona. But Parker did it, and I laughed and shook my head at what When Thingfinger had to say about his life.
Great book which is hard to categorize. It's main Character is Thinfinger who besides having a odd name is a very odd and weird dude. He struggles through the book with odd jobs and finally lands the job of his dreams. A pizza maker. This is only the beginning of the weird and corky life he lives. I hope to read more about Thinfinger in the future.
Bronwyn Mauldin
A fun romp with the pizza guy. When Thinfinger loves working at the pizza parlor more than a person should love any job. He loves the worst tasks that everyone else hates. Then he drinks until he passes out, writing post-it notes to himself that he has to decipher the hungover next morning. For all his failings, you can't help but love the guy.
I hate this book. I hate not finishing books, but I don't think I'm gonna make it to the end of this one. I find all of the characters completely pathetic, not endearing and I haven't found any of the antics at all funny. Mostly just disturbing. I must not be the target audience of this book...

Update - I never finished the damn thing.
Oct 10, 2011 Elizabeth rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Punk Rock Rulers
Shelves: 2011
Punk Rock, Central Florida, Crappy Restaurant jobs, Disenchanted Youth, a guy named When Thinfinger and a surfer named Shaka with 25 girlfriends.

If any of these subjects pique your curiosity you'll be in a for a treat. A fast, not-complicated read that made me think of anarchy- Florida young style.
stealing is bad. if you're sort of kind of smart you can do it. but you also have to be a huuuuge douchebag. (basically, this book is narrated by an amazingly annoying DB but just compelling enough to make you want to finish it. Mildly entertaining, and I learned a lot about pizza making)
A lot subtler than I'd expected -- you do get crazy drunken punk rock action, but the meditations on work, family, and relationships are what endures. Maybe this is due to his contributing an introduction, but I was reminded somewhat of Sam Lipsyte's Home Land as well...
A thoroughly enjoyable book; quick to read, hard to put down. And yet...shallow. The main character sort of remains stuck in one place throughout; with no character transformation, I was left wanting something more.
RIYL Irvine Welsh, Chuck Palahniuk. Great dialogue. Dank, but great humor. Not sure if I like how it ended, but the ride to the end is an entertaining and dirty one. And a very quick read.
Bob Redmond
Terrific dialogue, writing that escapes the grad-school factory (despite being a product of it). Story of a disaffected restaurant worker/skater/soft-hearted misanthrope. Who can't relate?
It's a quick read that makes the life of a loser seem extroidinary. The book dives right into the mind of the main character, Thinfinger, and I grew to love him with each turn of the page.
Eirik Gumeny
Ovenman was clever and funny. I was really digging it, right up until the ending anyway. Then it just kind of fell apart. Like Parker wasn't really sure how to end it.
Quick and light read about a young punk searching for any source of meaning in his reather meaningless life...and I am pretty sure he found nothing.
Oct 05, 2012 Rebekkila marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
Awful. The last time I will ever trust Amazon's "You Might Like" feature. I think this was written by a third grader
Oct 24, 2010 Ian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Tightly wrapped up and entertaining all the way through, though Parker's short story collection is more humorous.
Josh Spilker
funny and a bit scattered--a coming of age story for the skateboarding/restaurant/punk rock set.
Feb 19, 2008 William rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to William by: Large Hearted Boy
Very funny. Great 1st person narrator. Strong minor characters. Lots of energy.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Shining at the Bottom of the Sea
  • Petropolis
  • The Shadow Catcher
  • Grab On to Me Tightly as if I Knew the Way
  • The Entire Predicament
  • Steer Toward Rock
  • Breaking It Down
  • Home Land
  • Big Lonesome
  • Wire to Wire
  • Girl Factory
  • Harry, Revised
  • The Fate of the Artist
  • Mosquito
  • Radiant Days: A Novel
  • The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo
  • New England White
  • The Magic Kingdom
Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia The Taste of Penny Where Bears Roam the Streets The Back of the Line Achoo

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »