The Book of Joe
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The Book of Joe

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  9,452 ratings  ·  1,079 reviews
Right after high school, Joe Goffman left sleepy Bush Falls, Connecticut and never looked back. Then he wrote a novel savaging everything in town, a novel that became a national bestseller and a huge hit movie. Fifteen years later, Joe is struggling to avoid the sophomore slump with his next novel when he gets a call: his father's had a stroke, so it's back to Bush Falls f...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published March 30th 2004 by Bantam (first published July 17th 2003)
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matteo
An absolutely incredible book. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think. I read a lot of books, but I rarely respond to them like I did to this. Upon finishing it, I immediately called several of my friends and told them to go get it RIGHT NOW, because it felt like Tropper was writing exactly what we had been through. Tropper writes as though he is in the minds of his readers: you can feel the love, hatred, hurt, joy, confusion. The story might not always be fantastic, but his ability...more
Dashka
I wanted to like this book. I had every reason to -- not only was it the only book I had with me on vacation, but it had been recommended by someone whose opinions I trust and the author had been compared to Michael Chabon and Richard Russo, writers I love. But no matter how much I tried, I could not ignore the absolute awfulness of the writing. Tropper piles on adjectives randomly, giving ridiculously elaborate and yet banal descriptions of mundane things like drinking a soda ("long, thirsty si...more
Jake
So the story is this:
Smartass non-athlete kid grows up in a shitty sports town, moves away at 18 and writes a book savaging everyone he grew up with. After 15 years, the now-successful writer has to return to town because his father (who he hated) is sick.

There's potential there. Despite being a blatant rip-off of Elizabethtown (maybe not the best thing to swipe from, BTW), this could work if one could avoid all the typical 'prodigal son' cliches. Such as:

Former jock turns out to be gay.
Former a...more
Reese
*
A psychiatrist friend once told me that the psyche knows no greater pain than shame, that shame is so painful that, within a nanosecond, it is experienced as anger.

The word "angry" clearly falls short of capturing the intensity of feelings about Jonathan Tropper's Joe Goffman, who had the chutzpah to make the name of his hometown the title of a novel -- one that would become a best-selling book and then a movie. The fact that the work is fiction does not diminish the embarrassment felt by the...more
Jennifer Tatroe
Jonathan Tropper's The Book of Joe reminds me a lot of Michael Chabon's early work stirred up with a bit of Nick Hornby. Echoing so much of two of my favorite contemporary male authors, it's no surprise that, by the end, I really fell in love with this book and can't wait to read more from the author who wrote it.

Joe Goffman is a lapsed Jew from a small town in Connecticut. After leaving home as a bitter and estranged teenager, he wrote a scathing (and bestselling) novel about his experiences gr...more
Sean Kennedy
I really enjoyed This Is Where I Leave You despite its at times-overbearing resemblance to a feelgood independent script aiming to be Oscarbait, so I decided to check out Jonathan Tropper's back catalogue.

The Book of Joe is very similar - awash in cinematic cliches such as the estranged son returning home due to illness in the family, reacquainting with an old girlfriend he never got over, etc etc. It actually pulled together in TIWILY, but not here.

I think what annoyed me the most was the use o...more
treehugger
Nov 21, 2007 treehugger rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: small town new englanders, people who like to overexamine relationships
So, I really, really enjoyed this book. It's about a man who, upon realizing he is inhabiting an empty, souless life and hearing about his estranged father's life-threatening stroke, returns to his small hometown in Connecticut. There are some really predictable things that happen from here, but the study of human relationships, the resiliency of the human heart, and final note of home on which the novel ends really did it for me. There was big emotion packed into this book, and it dealt with so...more
rachel
Oct 21, 2013 rachel marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, abandoned
Granted, I only read about forty pages of this one before deciding it wasn't my thing. But I was struck by how right Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult were when they said that men's fiction that has the plot tropes of "chick lit" is always just called "literary fiction," and I would hold this book up first as an argument for that.

There are points in the first 40 pages when, in my opinion, it approaches saccharine. Despite being a person who cries practically on command at every viewing of Waters...more
Eric_W
BEWARE: This book was originally published under the title of Bush Falls.

He's a prodigy of alienation. Now a successful writer, having written a book about his home town, Bush Falls, that savaged the place, Joe receives a call from his sister-in-law that his father has had a stroke (he was at the top of the key, had just released the ball, and came down unconscious. Basketball aficionados present noted the ball swished.) Joe's brother, Brad, ex-sports star, and their father never had much time f...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Joe Goffman is a self-described asshole. He’s such an asshole that he wrote a scathing “fictitious” novel about his hometown where he completed lambasted nearly everything and everyone contained there. He never dreamed the book would become not only a national sensation, but also an A-List movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kirsten Dunst. He REALLY never dreamed he’d have to go back to said hometown and face the subjects of his novel. However, when his father suffers a stroke, that’s exactly w...more
Maida
Remarkable. I laughed, I cried, I shrieked, I cringed, I pondered... and then I laughed some more!!! Witty & beautifully crafted, this book inspires tolerance, openness, vulnerability, resilience, & an affection for human idiosyncrasies & imperfections. Thank you, Jonathan Tropper, for taking me on such a glorious journey!!!

"I find that most people worth knowing are f*cked up in some way or another.”

"We make mistakes. They don't make us. If they did, we'd all be royally f*cked, espec...more
Melissa
Really good book.
After a horrible senior year in high school, Joe moves away from his home town. Once Joe is on his own he rights a sort of tell all book about his home town, and his home town is not happy. Actually, a lot of people hate him in his home town. His mother passes away, but his father, brother, high school sweet heart, and his old best friend are home waiting for him when he returns.
I read somewhere that this book is being made into a movie. I have never seen the T.V. show, but Octo...more
Sassacaia
It's been a long time since I read a book that I couldn't put down. This is one of those books, where it doesn't leave your head and you find yourself back in Bush Falls, wondering what kind of trouble Joe is going to get into now, even when you're at Casa Grande in Arizona. It's sweet and funny and engaging and just a pleasure to read.
Rachelle
Joe Goffman is coming to terms with the fact that he just might be an asshole. He is forced to return to his hometown of Bush Falls, when his father has a stroke. His homecoming is slightly complicated by the fact that during his 17 year absence, he wrote a bestselling novel bashing the town and everyone in it. Oh yeah and then the book was turned into a movie… Needless to say the town isn’t too happy to see him. On the upside, Joe’s return home reconnects him with his best friend from high scho...more
Ella
Jonathan Tropper’s ability to make you feel like his best friend is what makes his books so enjoyable. His writing is easy, believable and natural.

The protagonist Joe Goffman had a difficult time in high school. He was seen as a loser and his friends were no better. There were three important people in his life back then, Carly, the girl he loved, Wayne and Sammy, his two best friends who went through their own hell. Joe’s tumultuous high school years left him angry and bitter.

After high school,...more
Nina (The Bookish Confections)
I've been reading a lot of YA/NA novels lately so I decided to go for an adult one this day. So I picked this up. Little did I know that it was like a YA/NA novel inside an adult novel.

I like Jonathan Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You. Despite its many vulgar words, it's a good one. Yes, many vulgar words, sexual content. A lot of profanities. So I wasn't surprised when The Book of Joe also contains those things. Honestly speaking, I found a LOT of similarities between the two.

But the thing...more
Ismail Elshareef
I truly enjoyed this fast-paced, big-hearted, sharp-witted, heartbreaking belated coming-of-age story by Jonathan Tropper. It was so enjoyable and uplifting that it made me rush out to get How to Talk to a Widower (Bantam Discovery) which I'm equally enjoying right now.

This is what made this book so enjoyable to me:

1. Easy/Fast Read - The narrator speaks in a familiar, sharp-witted voice that makes it so easy to sail through his prose. I found myself relate to the protagonist's personality and...more
Todd Carper
Jonathan Tropper is my new favorite author. I have also read "This is Where I Leave You" and I thought it was outstanding and "The Book of Joe" is even better. It is basically a coming of age story of a 34 year old man. Tropper really does a good job of writing stories that seem true to the male psyche. I have read a lot of reviews on this book and they are almost all positive, but they miss the biggest point of the book. It is a hilarious book with some heart breaking moments that will lead you...more
Dani Peloquin
The Book of Joe is described by one reviewer as "a coming of year 34 year old tale" and I have to agree. However, this is not a bad thing! The story is about a man named Joe who writes a scathing book about the town in which he was raised. In his novel, he addresses how poorly everyone treated him and his friends. He also chronicles how the basketball team and its coach run the town while preaching conformity and intolerance. When Joe's father falls into a coma during a basketball alumni game, J...more
Elizabeth A
I participated in the BOTNS Secret Santa game last December, and this is one of the books I got from my elf (aka Lil). This was one of her fave books for the year, and I can see why. I was hooked the moment I started reading it.

So imagine that you are a teenage boy growing up in small town America, and not only do you have no friends, let alone a way to get laid, but your mother kills herself, and you cannot find common ground with your father or older brother. Your final year of high school th...more
Rick
First off, this was a difficult book to rate. On the plus side, it made me laugh; it made me cry. I was caught up in the character's lives and cared about them. The author has a winning and simple way with prose. The negatives are what made me downrate it so much. Aside from the main character's intense self-pity that we're hammered over the head with, I had trouble suspending my disbelief for his best friend, Wayne, who deserved a much fresher and more thoughtful approach. Wayne is one of two g...more
Nancy
Right after high school, Joe Goffman left sleepy Bush Falls, Conneticut and never looked back. Then he wrote a novel savaging everything in town, a novel that became a national bestseller and a huge hit movie. Fifteen years later, Joe is struggling to avoid the sophomore slump with his next novel when he gets a call: his father's had a stroke, so it's back to Bush Falls for the town's most famous pariah. His brother avoids him, his former classmates beat him up, and the members of the book club...more
Amy
I just love Jonathan Tropper ... something about his writing and characters just speaks to me. Although this particular novel wasn't quite as good as This Is Where I Leave You, it's a really good novel that was a joy to read. I laughed, I cried and everything in between. Tropper just has a way of making you FEEL as you read - the good, the bad and the ugly. This book definitely reminded me of the TV show October Road (which was one of my favs before it was cancelled way too early).

I wouldn't say...more
Emily
Though I did like This is Where I Leave You better than The Book of Joe, it has been a quiet awhile since a book has made me both laugh out loud and cry with full on tears running down my face.

My only complaints are the character of Sean who seems a little over the top and what he instigates is a little over the top. There were also a few times when I would read a bit of dialogue and think, "Really, who would say something like that?"

And I only bring up those complaints because the rest of the...more
Stacey
I rarely give a book more than 4 stars. It has to touch my soul so deeply that I will never forget the lesson it taught me within it's pages. With that in mind, I give this one 4 stars because there are only a handful of books that have ever made me cry. This was one. You can read about the book on your own if you want to know the story line but I will tell you, Jonathan Tropper has a masterful way of telling a story. The dialogue is superb and his characters are so real you will not soon forget...more
Abby Lasky
IF you haven't read a Jonathan Tropper book yet, you should. He is totally hilarious. Although I read two books, and both pretty much had the same type of characters and plot line, both of them amused me and were great reads. This story is one we probably all would like to see happen. A guy leaves his home town to become rich and famous, only to return to loathed and reviled! I also read This is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper, also dealing with a guy having a midlife crisis and returning...more
Rebecca
The Book of Joe tells the story Joe who returns home to see his ailing father after 17 years. During the 17 years away he has written a novel about his past in Bush Falls. He must return home and face the demons of his past. This book is a tale of what happens when you return home.

Well written and well developed characters. I felt like I too was returning to the small town of Bush Falls. An overall sad story but with moments of laughter and tears.

A book that will make you think about growing u...more
Kerri
I gave this one 4 stars. I really enjoyed the narrative. The main character, Joe, was flawed, but that made his journey to rediscovering his past and the mix of present and past in the storytelling all the more enjoyable. I thought the characters were well-developed and multi-leveled, definitely not flat. The one part I thought was strange was how his involuntary trip over the falls was ignored by friends and the law alike, esp in light of the number of people who died going over them. Other tha...more
Lori
I don't know that any writer could help you know the characters in their books better than Jonathan Tropper. He is one of the best storytellers of this era. I felt like I knew Joe better than he knew himself.
Tropper also incorporates a lot of humor in his books and that helps break up the sometimes difficult topics addressed.
This is the second book I have read by Jonathan Tropper and I have put all of the rest of his books on my "to be read" list.
Vincent
I can't get enough of Tropper. It's not that the books blow me away, they are just so well written and weave such a great story with so many things that I can relate to, that I just enjoy reading them so much that I can't seem to put them down. Hopefully, he will keep writing....I'll certainly keep reading! If you haven't experienced Tropper, give him a try, you won't be disappointed, promise! Enjoy.
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Jonathan Tropper is the author of Everything Changes, The Book of Joe , which was a Booksense selection, and Plan B. He lives with his wife, Elizabeth, and their children in Westchester, New York, where he teaches writing at Manhattanville College. How To Talk To A Widower was optioned by Paramount Pictures, and Everything Changes and The Book of Joe are also in development as feature films.

-Infor...more
More about Jonathan Tropper...
This is Where I Leave You One Last Thing Before I Go How to Talk to a Widower Everything Changes Plan B

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“Everyone always wants to know how you can tell when it's true love, and the answer is this: when the pain doesn't fade and the scars don't heal, and it's too damned late.” 268 likes
“Everyone always wants to know how you can tell when it's true love, and the answer is this: when the pain doesn't fade and the scars don't heal, and it's too damned late.
The tears threaten to return, so I willfully banish all thoughts from my head and take a few more deep breaths. I'm suddenly dizzy from the panic attack I've just suffered, and I close my eyes, resting my head against the warm leather of my steering wheel. Loneliness doesn't exist on any single plane of consciousness. It's generally a low throb, barely audible, like the hum of a Mercedes engine in park, but every so often the demands of the highway call for a burst of acceleration, and the hum becomes a thunderous, elemental roar, and once again you're reminded of what this baby's carrying under the hood.”
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