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The Wishbones

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  2,254 Ratings  ·  168 Reviews
Everything is going pretty well for Dave Raymond. He's 31, but he still feels young. He's playing guitar with the Wishbones, a New Jersey wedding band, and while it isn't exactly the Big Time, it is music. He has a roof over his head...well, it's his parents' roof, but they don't hassle him much. Life isn't perfect, but it isn't bad. Not bad at all. But then he has to blow ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by Berkley (first published May 5th 1997)
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Fiction Involving Rock/Pop Music
115th out of 654 books — 932 voters
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Best of Tom Perrotta
5th out of 14 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nov 09, 2009 Kathleen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think I've had enough of hanging out with the guys, for awhile. Is there a name for this genre? It seems as if every third book I've read lately is told by some oblivious guy in the midst of wedding preparations who is challenged by the concepts of self control, responsibility and basic budgeting and planning. I was enjoying this book until it delved deeper into Dave's intimate relationships and his deliberate choice to leave every conflict unaddressed. I feel like I transferred on to the ...more
Feb 01, 2009 Michael rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mitch Albom
Nov 18, 2015 Mitch Albom rated it it was amazing
When you read Tom Perrotta's later work, this seems almost childish in subject matter. But his early novel about a wedding singer still living with his parents speaks to the love of music that freezes you in your development. Duke Ellington once said, 'Music is my mistress, and she's a jealous lover.' Perrotta's protagonist, Dave Raymond, is less elegant about it but just as torn.
Aug 30, 2009 Alan rated it liked it
I'm a fan of Tom Perotta. I especially admire his ability to get ahead of social trends in his books. He seems to sense the "next big thing" and he's there, several steps ahead.
In this amusing but not overly demanding novel, Perotta gives us the archetypal character of Dave, a boy-man of 31 still struggling to grow up. Since this book came out in 1997, that character has become the stock-in-trade of Judd Apatow and his ilk. But Perotta was there first.
Dave is a rock star-wannabe who plays in a w
Nov 04, 2008 Michael rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary-novels
So, I started a pretty thorough review of this book, but lost it to the ghosts of the internet. So, I'll do a briefer version. I just don't have the energy to bitch and moan about books any more.

Despite the wicked words I'm going to use, I actually enjoyed Perrotta's book. It was a fun, trashy, smooth read, and I'd read it again, if I hadn't read it already. Got it?

So, The Wishbones reminds me a bit of a poor man's Nick Hornby novel air dropped in New Jersey. It's so 90s-centric and dated, so fu
Jan 26, 2016 denmack rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
God bless the cover. I usually have about 90 seconds at the library to find a read while the kids wreak unseen havoc on the children's section. The fiction shelves at McKinley though, are between the door and the play area and the resulting confidence that no one could abduct my brood without me at least being able to heave a hardcover classic at him allowed me to look for an added minute. I often look for contemporary books, and restrict my search to something with the size of a first edition ...more
Abigail Hillinger
Apr 18, 2007 Abigail Hillinger rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Wannabe Rock Stars
Shelves: fiction
Another good read by Tom Perrotta. And another man cheats on his significant other. Seriously, it makes me as a reader wonder why infidelity is consistent theme in Perrotta's books, and how comfortable his wife is with it.

The Wishbones are a wedding band. Don't think 'Wedding Singer' here, ala Adam Sandler. Think of what would happen if Rob, Barry, and Dick from Hornby's High Fidelity made a band. Dysfunction and mayhem, right? Of course. Because dysfunction and mayhem is what Perrotta does best
Jan 27, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it
I'm in a band and this is a pretty good description of life in a band. The Wishbones are a wedding band fracturing on the shoals of alcoholism, marriage, infidelity and misguided ambition (bandleader Artie wants to give up weddings to start a Christian rock outfit). The setting is New Jersey reception halls and split levels. Les Paul-toting main character Dave Raymond is caught between his fiance, girlfriend and dreams he could have made it with a punk rock outfit that inspired bathroom ...more
Allan Hough
Feb 27, 2010 Allan Hough rated it did not like it
This book sucks. It's just good enough to keep you reading through to the end just to see what happens, but in my book, a book like that is worse than a fully bad book. At least with a fully bad book you can just put it down right away and forget about it.

(Incidentally, this is just my exact review of Tom Perrotta's _Joe College_, cut and pasted. Fuck that guy.)
I Love Romantic Fiction blog
Some parts made me laugh out loud. The author really has a way with dialogue.
If you can get past the fact that Dave is a duplicitous, cowardly man-child, you'll enjoy the story. Too afraid to go after his life, he settles. In all aspects of his life.
Poor Julie - is there anything worse than being the one he settled for?
Nov 10, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
Like High Fidelity meets The Wedding Singer, in a good way. This is early Perrotta - very early - and you can tell he's still working out the kinks in his writing. There's a clumsy plot device or two, some clunky dialogue, and things wrap up just a little too neatly for my taste. But its gentle riffs on life, love, and human nature are effortlessly engaging.
Darlene Rae
Mar 14, 2008 Darlene Rae rated it it was ok
This is one of Tom's earlier books, and as I predicted, not quite as good as Little Children and The Abstinence Teacher, which I loved. All of his books could be movies though. Good stuff.
Jun 03, 2014 mcgob rated it it was ok
I like some of Tom Perrotta's books a whole lot, but this one isn't quite there. I just can't stomach books about reluctant man-children anymore. Whatever, dude. Anyway, it's his first book, so things got a lot better after this.
Jul 12, 2016 Wendy rated it really liked it
I have to admit, I was kind of pissed with Dave. I wanted Julie to find out and dump his ass. Then I thought, OK he wasn't happy, maybe this will make him happy. But at least man up and tell Julie the truth. In the end, I was still disgusted. But good story.
Mar 28, 2009 Mark rated it it was ok
I was let down by this one. I thought it would be more of a send up of band culture and less of what it was.
Mary Beth
Jul 23, 2008 Mary Beth rated it it was ok
It seems that we all have to settle down and become adults at some point. It just doesn't have to be as depressing as we think.
Mar 21, 2008 Sarah rated it it was ok
This is basically the same story as High Fidelity, except High Fidelity does it better.
Nov 02, 2008 Tiffany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, 2008
I really like Little Children and was hoping this book would be as engaging as that one, but I couldn't relate well.
Jan 24, 2008 Abby rated it it was ok
I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that I was reading a new version of The Wedding Singer. It was okay, but I wouldn't go out of my way to read this one.
Cait Poytress
Not bad, not good, just kind of... eh. 2.5 stars
Jul 31, 2007 Lauren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was my lesser favorite between this and Little Children. It just wasn't that interesting.
Mar 26, 2016 Cheryl rated it did not like it
Didn't finish the book as it was so slow and pretty boring.
Nov 06, 2016 Jenn rated it liked it
I can't decide if I liked it or it was really bad.
Mar 29, 2013 Gretchen rated it did not like it
This book was the poor man's High Fidelity.
Aug 30, 2015 Dan rated it it was ok
I think Perrotta phoned this one in
Oct 13, 2016 Donna rated it liked it
Not my favorite from Tom Perrotta, but I see the seeds of future greatness there.
Carly Thompson
31 year old Dave Raymond stills live at home in the New Jersey suburbs with his parents while playing guitar in a wedding band called The Wishbones. Over the course of a summer, he becomes engaged to his high-school girlfriend, has an affair with a New York city wannabe poet, and questions his life choices (will he ever achieve rock stardom?).

The Wishbones is a great example of humorous male fiction. Strongly reminiscent of Nick Hornby’s work, Perrotta’s characters are guys who relate more stron
Mar 20, 2012 Melissa rated it liked it
I finished my last book and walked over to the library during my lunch break to get a new book, but I didn't have one reserved, and I figured they'd have, like, Little Children or something by Tom Perrotta, because my sister is a big fan and so far I haven't read any of his preferred works, but NO. ALL THE LIBRARY HAD WAS THIS BOOK.

I mean, it's a fine book. Tom Perrotta is such an impressive writer in so many ways of which I'm completely jealous. It's the story of a man stumbling into a delayed
May 14, 2016 Shelley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well this was a total disappointment. Tom Perotta is an author that I have heard good things about, but this was really disappointing. First off the main character, Dave is a total bore. He should have been a minor character and Buzzy should have been the focus. Buzzy was one of two characters who kept me reading, albeit at a snail's pace while doing a major home remodel. The book was so easy to put down and forget about and it also made hanging drywall seem way more interesting than the tedium ...more
Apr 04, 2009 David rated it it was amazing
I have been reading all the Tom Perrotta books and I think this one might be the saddest, in terms of what it reveals about the nature of dreams and in this case, not knowing when to let them go. Many of the later books involve some middle aged person undergoing a crisis (with the exception of Joe College, which is about a 20-something) but this one is about a somewhat younger character and has the funny yet depressing theme of growing up and getting over your adolescence. This is the story of ...more
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Tom Perrotta (born August 13, 1961) is an American novelist and screenwriter best known for his novels Election (1998) and Little Children (2004), both of which were made into critically acclaimed, Golden Globe-nominated films. Perrotta co-wrote the screenplay for the 2006 film version of Little Children with Todd Field, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted ...more
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“Except for a small strip of shin that poked out from between the top of his socks and the bottom of his pants, his legs were purely theoretical.” 3 likes
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