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Wonder Boys

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  29,077 Ratings  ·  1,654 Reviews
Other cover for ISBN 9781857024050

Grady Tripp is a pot-smoking middle aged novelist who has stalled on a 2611 page opus titled Wonder Boys. His student James Leer is a troubled young writer obsessed by Hollywood suicides and at work on his own first novel. Grady's bizarre editor Terry Crabtree and another student, Hannah Green, come together in his wildly comic, moving, an
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Paperback, 368 pages
Published 2008 by HarperCollins (first published March 14th 1995)
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Knitme23 Wow. Found the protagonist unbearably awful, and by continuing I felt that I was supporting his terrible personality, so I quit reading it. I like…moreWow. Found the protagonist unbearably awful, and by continuing I felt that I was supporting his terrible personality, so I quit reading it. I like Chabon (Telegraph Avenue knocked my socks off!) but *hated* this one. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Mandy
Sep 19, 2007 Mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Second only to Catcher in the Rye in my all-time favorite list of books. If you are a writer, if you've taken a creative writing class, if you've verged on totally and completely fucking up your life with sweet redemption held just at your fingertips, but which you chose to thumb your nose at for just a teensy bit longer....god, read this book. If you love prose, good prose, jubillant, wild, ecstatic indulgent prose, read Chabon. I just want to roll around in his words and bathe in it like a bub ...more
Brad
What the heck have I been doing with my life! Wonder Boys has been one of my favorite movies of all time because it hits all the wonderful buttons of writing and reading and being deliciously messed up and being so HUMAN.

And then somewhere along the line I read The Yiddish Policemen's Union and I still didn't make the connection.

So when I DID finally make the connection that one of favorite movies was really based on a book by an author I already described to myself as "wonderfully inventive and
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Dusty Myers
Sep 26, 2007 Dusty Myers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a straight man, Chabon is very gay friendly. I know there's been stuff written, possibly by Chabon himself, about early gay liaisons he undertook, but now the man's married with three, four kids. And yet Chabon's smart enough to write this:

"[James] looked over at Crabtree with a smile that was crooked and half grateful. He didn't seem particularly distressed or bewildered, I thought, on awakening to his first morning as a lover of men. While he worked his way up the buttons of my old flannel
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mark
Jan 06, 2008 mark rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cynics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert
Dec 09, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the surface, Grady Tripp is probably one of the most loathsome individuals I have ever read about in literature—he’s spent seven years on a 2,611 page monstrosity that has gone absolutely nowhere and like his life meandered everywhere, he’s come to the dissolution of his third marriage, he’s carried on an affair for about five years with the married chancellor who is now carrying his child, he’s smoked an entire football field of weed, and yet he can’t seem to cut himself off, and he harbors ...more
Kemper
Jul 20, 2009 Kemper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I've read recently that involved the main character being an adulterer, impregnating someone other than his wife, and generally being such a screw-up that they wreck the life of anyone who depends on them. But while I hated Rabbit from Rabbit, Run to the point of wishing he was real so I could find him and pummel him with a baseball bat, I actually LIKED Grady Tripp and rooted for him to put down the joint and get his act together.

I'd read Chabon's The Amazing Adventures
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Cher
Apr 27, 2014 Cher rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned-dnf
1 star - I really hated it.

Somewhere around the part where the main character requested a pen to draw faces on his "wiener" (the author's fancy word choice, not mine) as he "pissed" behind a tree, I came to the realization that the remaining 179 pages were probably going to be just as unsatisfactory as the first 209 had been. Immediately after deciding to officially DNF this one, I smiled for the first time since I had chosen to pick it up. For a book that screams, "Look at me! I'm funny. I'm so
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Casey
May 21, 2007 Casey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the hydra
Shelves: to-re-read
chabon's adaptation of the famous tenacious d song.
Jake
Feb 26, 2007 Jake rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
He tried far too hard to be eclectic, over the top, and kitschy. The entire novel came off as insincere. The only likable characters, in my opinion, were Hannah and Sara, because they were the only ones with any kind of grip on the real world. Grady was a slacker and an asshole, Crabtree was a disturbing, self-absorbed douchebag, and James was just pathetic in every way. Actually, I take that back. Emily's parents, the Warshaws, are entirely likable. How can you not love old Jewish parents?

The e
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Aaron Mcquiston
If we were to categorize books that have literary merit but are depressingly non-enjoyable in a human sense, "Wonder Boys" would be a front runner. Michael Chabon can write. I give him that. Michael Chabon also writes the worst books I've ever read. Here you have a story about a writer (that's a tough plot to start with) that is not in touch with reality (the character is even harder to write) whom screws everything up because it is much easier to do the wrong thing than to be right all the time ...more
Jenn(ifer)
Jan 24, 2012 Jenn(ifer) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of John Irving, people who liked the movie
Michael Chabon!! Where have you been all my life? What a great book! I loved the film version, but the book is even better. I must admit, it was impossible not to picture Michael Douglas and Toby Maguire as I read, but that's not a bad thing. I love the character Grady Tripp. He's just the type of guy I would have fallen for in my youth: ridiculously intelligent, creative, professorial, and hopelessly, tragically flawed. "As long as she was falling in love with me, I might as well start making h ...more
Stef Smulders
I was not expecting to ever quit a book by Chabon but this one turned out not to be to my taste. Characters not knowing where to go and what to do, a story that has no direction either. And all the detailed descriptions (do I really need to know the way even the minor characters are dressed, what they look like, how they smell?) slow down the pace even more. I could appreciate the humor and most of the writing, although even here the author is exaggerating in all his metaphores, many of which ar ...more
Dolores
Jul 30, 2007 Dolores rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after I saw the movie, so I am judging it a bit backwards. I read with a vision in my head of the way the characters were portrayed in the film, and tried to envision them the way Michael Chabon wrote them. For example, in the book, Grady Tripp is a large, imposing man, and his friend and editor, Terry Crabtree, is the same age as he is, and they have been friends since college. Of course, in the film, the slender Michael Douglas plays Grady, and Robert Downey, Jr. plays Crabtre ...more
John
Jul 14, 2009 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to John by: no one
Trifling. After I put this down that's the only thing I could think of that would accurately convey what I was feeling after burning precious brain cells and wasting God-given minutes I'll never get back. But maybe I was wrong? After all when Chabon first appeared on the scene along with Ethan Canin, they were the "boy wonders" of literature - talented, handsome, smart, with big book deals to boot. They'd set the publishing world on fire; who was I to try and put out the flame?

So, one day I was
...more
Ms.pegasus
Dec 15, 2016 Ms.pegasus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a book about writers
Shelves: fiction
Even chaos can become predictable. Marijuana, alcohol, three marriages, an ongoing infidelity with his department head's wife, a peripatetic silver-tongued agent who pops drugs like tic-tacs, and a seven year publishing dry spell have been shepherding the hapless main character, author Grady Tripp, to the fateful weekend chronicled in this novel. It's a weekend that will arouse atomized glimpses of self-awareness in Tripp.

Chabon has stashed a cache of writerly tics in his character. Grady's maid
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Ken
Unfortunately, there's a long history of books set in academia where the protagonist a.) is a professor, b.) is an alcoholic or substance abuser, c.) is having trouble getting it up (it = his writing muse), and d.) is tempted by or tempting to the tender vittles we know and love as co-eds. Given how cliche all of this is, you would think that authors would consider this formula strictly where angels fear to tread, but no.

Welcome to WONDER BOYS, Michael Chabon's novel about a washed-up writer sla
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Christina
Mar 20, 2009 Christina rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2009
What does a boa constrictor, a tuba, a transvestite, Marilyn Monroe's jacket, a man called Crabtree, a lot of pot, a car with buttprints and a blind dog have in common? They all crosses Grady Tripp's path in the course of two days where Tripp's wife finds out that he has a mistress and that she is pregnant...
So this is no ordinary weekend and Tripp finds himself in one awkward situation after the others. Towards the end, you as the reader finds yourself thinking "figures!" every time something n
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Marieke
I liked it. I didn't love it...unlike many of my friends. oh well. and although i could say i "really liked" parts of it, i did not "really like" all of it. i scribbled down some notes, so hopefully i'll be back shortly, maybe even tomorrow, to clarify what i did and what i did not like (so much). This was my first Chabon novel that i completed. I started one once but got distracted (oops), but do intend to read his others. Even (perhaps especially) the one that got accidentally left behind.
Darwin8u
Mar 07, 2014 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
A strong, early Chabon. It has all the things that I love about Michael Chabon: the quirky characters, the beautiful filigreed prose, the androgenous and ambiguous lovers. But, it also contains more warmth and crazy energy than some of his later books. And I appreciate that. I appreciate the feeling that this book ran past Chabon's careful editing. Its kinetic narrative isn't about to be slowed by careful massaging. To Hell with all that. In someways it feels a bit like the Pastoral Wanderings o ...more
Raymond Rose
Feb 28, 2011 Raymond Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s funny when I think about how much it took for me to read this book. I was basically prodded and yelled at and asked repeatedly to read this book for the better part of a year before I did. A friend of mine was like, “You’re a writer! It’s about writers! You have to read it!” Eventually, I broke down and did. And man, were they right!

I read the book right on the heels of Richard Russo’s Straight Man (which, interestingly enough, the two books make wonderful book ends to each other and should
...more
Jeremy
Jul 04, 2017 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read, much to think about, in terms of the creative process, life, marriage, academia, addiction, youth, aging, suicide...it's also a tour de force of tiny bursts of comic commentary. Some sentences just ripple with arch satire, sarcasm, and deft instantaneous comic portrayals of characters and situations, where truth is hilarious and hilarity rings true.
I saw the movie first, loved it, and hesitated for a long time to read the book, thinking either that there would be nothing to add, or t
...more
Shawn Mooney
Feb 21, 2017 Shawn Mooney marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful writing: not at all my kind of story. Bailed a third of the way in.
Michael
Grady Tripp is a writer of a few novels; following the success of his award winning novel The Land Downstairs he has set out to write his follow up. Seven years later his manuscript for Wonder Boys was over 2600 pages long and nowhere closer to being finished. In his personal life things were messed up, his wife has walked out on him, and his mistress Sara has revealed she was pregnant. Wonder Boys (1995) is Michael Chabon’s second novel following the success of his debut book The Mysteries of P ...more
Reid
Oct 28, 2016 Reid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, review, 4-stars, 2016
I might call this delightful. A cast of literary personages wreaking havoc upon their own lives and everyone else they have contact with. It's amusing, engaging and well written. A tiny bit over the top with a couple of scenes, almost farcical, but Chabon held it together. James Leer is one of the best written characters I've read, awkward and shy to a fault, young and innocent, talented and inspired, fiercely struggling psychologically, but still dependent like a boy, all sketched very simply a ...more
Marcello S
Uno studente problematico ma geniale, un editor sull’orlo, una studentessa molto figa che non ha nessun ruolo, un professore/scrittore che a 40 anni ha più divorzi alle spalle che libri pubblicati.
Animali morti nel baule di un’auto. Cimeli di Marilyn Monroe e Joe di Maggio. Frank Capra.

Fino a qui tutto bene. Tutto profondamente americano. Qualcosa del primo Roth.

Cose che non vanno: troppe situazioni surreali o poco verosimili.
Il finale che vorrebbe essere struggente ma non ci riesce.
Situazion
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Ilze Folkmane
Jan 01, 2016 Ilze Folkmane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Something kind of pretty and perverted at the same time”

There is something that can be said about authors describing their work within said work, the above sentence being an example of such a phenomenon. And, God, is Wonder Boys something kind of pretty and perverted. I expected it to be more about writers and writing, so for me there was a slight hue of disappointment in this area, since I think I expected the balance between metaphor and actual life to be slightly different. But apart from th
...more
Jodi
Feb 21, 2009 Jodi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-read
I really wanted to dislike Wonder Boys. I even tried to dislike it. I mean, here it was a book about writers (barf) by Michael Chabon (barf) who kind of gives me the willies (I think it’s the hair). Despite all that, Wonder Boys still crawled into my heart.

So we’ve got pot-smoking, wife-cheating, never-ending-novel writing Grady Tripp and the weekend from hell. His editor comes into town for writerpalooza or something and brings along a drag queen. Grady’s wife has also chosen that day to leave
...more
Bruce
Nov 02, 2012 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all-time favorites, and there is no book I love more! After studying English Literature at both the undergraduate and graduate level, having taken writing courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels, and now teaching creative writing I have can honestly tell you I have a biased personal connection to this book! Each character is masterfully created and each bears a resemblance to one of the many English Professors I have studied under, worked with, and my current fellow f ...more
Dave
I decided that I wasn't liking this book to the point that I checked with the goodread reviews to see if it would get any better. Many of the one to two star reviews supported my suspicion that it wouldn't.

I absolutely hate books that go into, what the author thinks, are clever descriptions such as "the carpet of the lounge was a baby aspirin colour." I don't mind one or two of these but page after page of it repulses me to no end. I also hate when they use brand names over and over in the descr
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Margaret
Mar 30, 2008 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember being surprised at how much I liked this book that seemed so silly and focused on characters about whom I cared so little, especially the main character, Grady Tripp, who is a real jerk. But Chabon is talented and the book has real charm. The movie, while good, doesn't quite do it justice.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #16 Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon 1 3 Jan 30, 2016 03:35PM  
New Book with Careless Protagonist 1 13 Nov 17, 2014 11:37AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover? 9 28 Aug 22, 2013 03:02AM  
The Bookworms of RVA: Meeting April 7 Sunday 6pm: Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon 1 11 Mar 22, 2013 10:26AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Wonder Boys - wrong isbn? reused isbn? 3 37 Apr 28, 2012 04:08PM  
one of my favorite books and movies!!!! 1 67 Jun 23, 2007 01:59PM  
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Michael Chabon (b. 1963) is an acclaimed and bestselling author whose works include the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000). Chabon achieved literary fame at age twenty-four with his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988), which was a major critical and commercial success. He then published Wonder Boys (1995), another bestseller, which was mad ...more
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“There's nothing more embarrassing than to have earned the disfavor of a perceptive animal.” 1016 likes
“It's always been hard for me to tell the difference between denial and what used to be known as hope.” 129 likes
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