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It Feels So Good When I Stop
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It Feels So Good When I Stop

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  305 ratings  ·  59 reviews
The hilarious and irreverent debut novel about a modern Everyman struggling to learn how to love, choose, and commit on his own terms, from the highly acclaimed singer and songwriter.

From the first moment he met Jocelyn, he knew he would marry her or destroy his life trying. He didn't count on being the lucky bastard that got to do both.
It's October 1996 in Cape Cod. Our
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 6th 2009 by Riverhead Hardcover (first published July 23rd 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 613)
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Ian Agadada-Davida
Not the Dimmest Star in the Universe

This first novel wasn’t that bad. I just wanted to like it a smidgen more than I did.

I wanted to be able to say that it warranted five stars, not three or four.

I wanted to quote Joe Pernice’s lyrics.

I wanted to say that the novel had an Amazing Glimmer, an Amazing Glow, that it made me Lightheaded and Shaken Baby, that the protagonists made me feel like I’d been Blinded by the Stars, that they all Heightened Everything, that it all wasn’t a Flaming Wreck or ju
It's not every novel that can make you laugh out loud in the grimmest of settings--the L train at 9:30 a.m., or waiting for the doctor in a purple paper gown, to take two examples from last week. Pernice is hilarious, and his sentences are marvels of wit and compression. On the downside, this novel has about as much structure, plot, and form as a puddle of melted ice cream. 200 pages go by, and nothing happens and nothing changes. But melted ice cream is still ice cream, right?
The nameless narrator, having walked out on his rocky and three-days-old marriage in New York, stays at his brother-in-law James’ Cape Cod house that stands empty following James’ own impending divorce from the narrator’s sister. Looking after his baby nephew to make ends meet, tooling around Cape Cod on a rusty, undersize bicycle his sister rode as child, he thinks back to how he and his wife met and the course their relationship took, while in the present he meets a fragile young woman who wan ...more
Brent Hayward
Never was a big fan of plot anyhow, and I have a soft spot for indie rock slacker stories. The jumping around in time was fine - each schism triggered by either a word or idea that linked the parts together. There were some real laughs in this book, and some pretty heartbreaking moments too. Lots of drinking and fucking and cussing. Some parts were so crude that Bulkowski himself was evoked, like it said in a blurb, but this was truly surprising for me, since Pernice's lovely pop and earlier cou ...more
Sep 28, 2009 Danimal rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: misanthropists from Cape Cod
The guys in the book were just too vulgar and dickish for me to root for. Which sort of surprised me, having been a big fan of Joe Pernice's music, which tends towards the sensitive and heartbroken. I guess you could give him extra points for writing about people (hopefully) not like him. But the book doesn't really get moving until the end, when the protagonist finally engages with someone - only then does he seem like a decent guy. But it's too late.

That said, the soundtrack that Pernice put o
Meagan Houle
Maybe I'm missing something, but I got almost nothing out of this book. It felt ostentatiously gritty for no particular reason, and I fail to see what message it was trying to convey, since the plot line certainly didn't do the book any favours. I did find Marie a little intriguing; she was the only sympathetic character in the entire thing, except perhaps Pamela. In general, though, it was a senseless, desultory group of loosely connected plot points, with an abrupt and (for me) unsatisfactory ...more
Too clever for its own good with dialog that should have never left the locker room.
It felt so good when I stopped reading this book!
This was a generally enjoyable story about a guy trying to find his way in life after the breakup of a short-lived marriage. It's the author's first novel, and it shows, particularly at the beginning as he struggles to get a handle on the sometimes jarring decision to swing back and forth in the story's timeline. Things settle down and pick up in the second half. Bonus points for taking place largely on Cape Cod, which added a nice touch of familiarity.

Some memorable passages:

"I couldn't sleep,
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Larry Hoffer
I loved this book. I really did. Usually when I read books featuring characters who can't seem to commit, hold a job or carry on any successful relationship, they tend to be as disappointing as I'd imagine the characters are to their friends and family. But this book really resonated for me. The author, Joe Pernice, is really talented--he and his brother have a band, the Pernice Brothers, and he's a great songwriter as well.

The narrator of this book (you never learn his name, and while I thought
I agree wholeheartedly with the ice-cream analogy. Some spots of satisfying writing here, but not a book I'd hand to a plot lover or a non-indie/Americana fan.

There were some great individual moments, but I wanted more structure. Not sure what the purpose of the juxtaposed timelines were. Like other readers, I got it at first, but found the effectiveness withered. Some rewarding prose & dialogue - the scene leading up to the first kiss with Jocelyn, for example. Beautiful enough that I'm alr
I wish there was .5 stars because I believe that this novel deserves a 4.5 instead of the measly four I bestowed upon it. It exceeded the "really liked it" apex in my opinion and just barely missed the "amazing" factor. If it had been a punch you may not have felt the blow but you would definitely have felt the rush of air pass your face. The only barrier to the full 5 star rating was the ubrupt ending. It was an utter collapse; like a beautiful star imploding upon itself. The author never names ...more
I'm more than usually torn on what to make of this book; I read Meat is Murder with almost no expectations, and was really moved by it. I was raring to go, then, with this, the some sort of follow-up, or at least next book by the same writer. And I love the soundtrack album.

The book itself took more time to warm me up. Really, it was thirty pages before I figured out how to read around the novel's structure (the story of the relationship, in alternating with the story of life after that relation
It feels so Good When I stop
By Joe Pernice

This book was a pleasant surprise-- a book I had never heard of (that I found accidentally while browsing through the “P“ section of the library) that nevertheless proved to be absolutely delightful to read.
This is set in Cape Cod in the 1990’s, but unlike another recent book I read that took place in that decade (whose name escapes me at the moment) the setting is not used to milk the reader’s sense of nostalgia--it simply serves as a way to set the act
Marc Horton
Aug 24, 2009 Marc Horton rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Six Feet Under and High Fidelity, citizens of Massachusetts
"When I met Jocelyn I knew within minutes I was going to either marry her or completely destroy my life trying. It never occurred to me that both things could happen."

Thus our unnamed narrator tells us what's what, in this story of a twentysomething muso wastrel who escapes his one-day-old marriage to hibernate in the sleepy Cape Cod setting of his youth, and attempts to cobble the pieces back together. A comparison to Hornby's High Fidelity is inescapable, what with the ne'erdowell slacker-typ
Joe Pernice is primarily a poet/lyricist, and in It Feels So Good When I Stop, you can tell that he is unsure at times what to do with a novel-sized narrative. However, there is a lot of good emotion in his book. His unnamed protagonist is in a very relatable situation, having cut ties with his obligations, namely his new wife, Jocelyn. In a way, he is living out a fantasy many people have of just going off the grid, and the desolate setting of off-season Cape Cod is absolutely appropriate. The ...more
I found myself compelled to finish this book because I had grown to care about two of the characters, but the resolution was one of the most unsatisfying in the history of literature and the journey was a painful one on literary terms. Pernice is a fairly decent songwriter, but his awkward and too frequent use of metaphor is cringe inducing in a novel (where it might have served the short format of a song to enhance the mood). This also made a down and dirty book about slacker rockers seem prete ...more
Oh, Joe Pernice, I really did want to like your book a lot more than I did. It isn't bad - I mean, I read the whole thing and it certainly didn't feel like a chore to do so - but there really isn't anything to recommend in this book. I can really only get so invested in the story of a disaffected hipster slacker with commitment issues who runs away from his marriage less than three days into it and reverts to some kind of teenage state - I tried, but there isn't much to latch onto when I just di ...more
John Snyder
Pernice succeeds in the 'slacker songwriter becomes and author' arena better than some others of his background. ps: The ending was a bit too neat.
Nicholas Peterson
Sure, the characters are flawed and sometimes hard to take but they are human.

If you're a fan of dark humor, absurdly and meandering dialogue and conversations that make you laugh out loud, you'll enjoy this book. Some have said they have found the characters so vulgar that it seems the opposite of Pernice's sensitivity that comes across in his lyrics. I disagree, though, because behind every vulgar human being is fear.

While the first half of the book may appear to be meandering, overly contempl
Derivative plot and themes presented in pseudo-hipster dialogue.
The narrator (we never learn his name) is a waiter who wants to be a musician taking a break or possibly divorcing his wife after after a day of marriage.

Only place to go is his brother-in-law's, who is separated from his sister. And he's looking after his nephew. Then he runs into a drunken woman from down the street and they see what happens.

There's a definite taste of grit and stale beer in the this novel, with a side of man lost.

Lower score simply because I'm not sure the story gets far eno
There is nothing particularly bad about this book, but there is not much to it. The "plot" merely exists a frame work for a series of flashbacks to the narrator's gone-bad reltionship and never goes anywhere. The book simply stops after a minor meltdown from the narrator which, given the circumstances, comes off as a bit contrived (i.e. the author was ready to wrap things up). The book has some amazing music references from the 1990s--one of the reasons I was drawn to this book in the first plac ...more
Name SWight
didn't care for this book
I have always had a soft spot for sensitive musician types, which this author Joe Pernice is (Pernice Brothers/Scud Mountain Boys); I always guessed they were thinking deep soulful thoughts. But if the main character in this book is any indication of what's really going on in their heads, I might have to change my mind. This is definitely a boy's book with a very male slant (full of silly slacker antics and lots of jacking off), but the developing story with Marie is sweet and sensitive.
Good bunch of characters here: a conflicted man who's just split with his wife; his crazy brother in law; a strange woman who lives down the street. The book moves with the descriptions of these three, and also between the present time and the past, going back to when the main character first met his wife. These snapshots in time feel like David Gordon Green movies--identifiable, fun, and sad all at once.
Editrix (Amy Lewis)
Joe Pernice's storytelling gifts translate beautifully from songwriting to prose. While certainly gritty and at times dark, the strong, well-structured narrative prevents the story from becoming depressing or melodramatic. The author shows a keen aptitude for details and dialogue that bring his characters to life. Upon finishing the novel, I wanted to know more about the next chapters of the characters' lives.
I don't know what to say about this novel.
I really wanted to like it but in the end, I just didn't. It isn't bad (I did read the whole thing) but I felt like there was something missing. It wasn't the style of the writing the author used that irked me (that I actually enjoyed), I think it was more an issue of the plot and character development that really held me back.
Jul 18, 2012 Julia added it
I was very much enjoying this book, when it just... ended. Abruptly.

I actually liked the ending itself; I just wanted a bit more story before it arrived.

With the ending, this seems like a "slice of life" novel, but the rest of the book hadn't read that way to me.

I'd definitely read more by this author... and he gave me lots of music to investigate!
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