Joe Goffman moved away from his home town at 18, expecting never to go back. He later wrote a best selling tell-all book about the town and it's localJoe Goffman moved away from his home town at 18, expecting never to go back. He later wrote a best selling tell-all book about the town and it's locals. When Joe goes back home after his father suffers a stroke, he must confront the disapproval and disdain from the entire town who's personal lives and reputations he marred. There is a reunion with his high school sweetheart, his former best friend now dying of AIDS, old high school bullies, town legends, etc. Fresh and witty. Joe's mouth is constantly ahead of him, and his sarcastic humor does little to ingratiate him with this already hostile town. Very entertaining. The author had heavy use of unwieldy analogies at points, but they can be overlooked. The book is very entertaining and very easy to read through in a couple of sittings (I am slow). The author did a great job of communicating the importance of perspective and the danger of black/white judgment of people. "I realize that all I've had are superficial recollections, cardboard stand-ins for real memories that are only now finally emerging." p. 42
"I'm troubled by the notion that while I wasn't looking, I seem to have become an asshole. This leads to a brief, syllogistic argument. The fact that I suspect that I'm an asshole means I probably am not, because a real asshole doesn't think he's an asshole, does he? Therefore, by realizing that I'm an asshole, I am in fact negating the very realization, am I not? Decartes Asshole Axiom: I think therefore I am; therefore, I'm not one." p. 44
"It seems unbelievable to me that something the kid who would grow into me had done back then has remained intact until now, as if waiting for me to return." p. 82
"...pidgeons kept mistaking the large window for open air and crashing into it. I can vividly recall the nauseating sound of those bone-jarring collisions holting me out of my sleep in the early-morning hours. I would creep hesitattly to the window and lok down to see the bird on our front stairs, dazd and shivering from the sudden, inexplicable crash. Usually they recovered after a few minutes and took to the air again on an erratic flight path, shaken and none the wiser for their bruising experience, left only with the vague and uncomfortable notion tha the air will occationally coagulate without warning and knock them out of the sky. Every so often the crash was fatal, and I was forced to remove the dead pigeon with one of the red snow shovels from the garage and inter the bird in a shallow, unmarked grave behind the hedges." p. 83
"To err, as they say, is human. To forgive is divine. To err by withholding your forgiveness until it's too late is to become divinely fucked up." p. 212
"Loneliness is the theme, and I play it like a symphony, in endless variations. I've lived more than a third of my life, and am more alone now than I've ever been. You're supposed to make your way through life becoming more substantial as you go, the nucleus of your own little universe, your orbit overlapping the orbits of others. Instead, I've shed all those who cared about me like snakeskin, slithering angrily into my small solitary hole." p. 213
"I recall the slow, awkwaqrd nature of our lovemaking that night, and hink that what is so often considered to be the loss of innocence is acually the height of it." p. 287...more
Afraid of starting high school with no friends, a 15 year old boy begins writing anonymous letters to a complete stranger he had heard was the kind ofAfraid of starting high school with no friends, a 15 year old boy begins writing anonymous letters to a complete stranger he had heard was the kind of person who "didn't sleep with people just because he could," and cared about what other people had to say. The letters are a sort of diary, in which he describes his observations, his love, fears and confusion, and works through feelings of loss. You will fall in love with this boy and his friends. I had my doubts because of my extreme distaste for Catcher in the Rye, since I saw some reviews that the two books, but the main character is no Holden Caulfield. In contrast, this character reminds us that self-centered obnoxia is not an uncontrollable side effect of teenage years. I totally love this book. Go Charlie....more
Really enjoyed this book. Eerie, credible mystery, gothic romance undertones. It is one of the only "society" novels I have ever really enjoyed. GoodReally enjoyed this book. Eerie, credible mystery, gothic romance undertones. It is one of the only "society" novels I have ever really enjoyed. Good feel for the some detail of the lifestyle....more
I really enjoyed the way Guterson painted the little picture, almost more than his big picture. The character's daily rituals and thoughts, paths to cI really enjoyed the way Guterson painted the little picture, almost more than his big picture. The character's daily rituals and thoughts, paths to conclusions. This particular meandering style drags in some books but it worked for me in his. I liked this book....more
Narrated by a young girl (from about 4 to 5), this is the story of two sisters transplated by their mother, in search of adventure, from England to MoNarrated by a young girl (from about 4 to 5), this is the story of two sisters transplated by their mother, in search of adventure, from England to Morocco. I thought it was Fresh, light, and engrossing. I found the mother a little less endearingly eccentric than I think I was supposed to, and found the side characters far move vivid and likeable. I always love novels told from the younger sibbling perspective, especially when unusual places/circumstances are involved. This one especially. Definitely recommended....more
my favorite part of this book was the preface by the author. He redefines and captures the quintessential role of doubt in everyone's lives as somethimy favorite part of this book was the preface by the author. He redefines and captures the quintessential role of doubt in everyone's lives as something everyone deals with, some recognize, others are so crippled by that they struggle throughout their entire lives in a 'quest for self' without even knowing why, and very few recognize or understand. The parable itself was deep and compelling. At a couple of points I reacted out loud. I would highly recommend. Start with the preface.
"Are we people? Am I a person flesh and blood like you? Or are we just ideas and convictions. I can't say everything. Do you understand? [....] Even if you feel certainty, it is an emotion and not a fact. In the spirit of charity, I appeal to you." p. 55...more
How does a man behave when every instinct tells him to fight or flee, but he knows he cannot fight and will not run. What is this like for him when itHow does a man behave when every instinct tells him to fight or flee, but he knows he cannot fight and will not run. What is this like for him when it is not a sudden disaster but a slow one, anticipated, and inevitable. What of his friends and family? This book tells us about Monty Brogan, his father, girlfriend, and two best friends. Monty is charismatic, good looking, and popular in the New York club scene, and he is on way to prison for 7 years for dealing cocaine.
Monty deserves to go to prison, but you don't really want him to. He is a compulsively likable and sympathetic character- here some bravado - here some humility.
This book takes place in the last 24 hours with Monty and his friends. The book reads like a movie, and not surprisingly, was made into a good one with an excellent monologue by Edward Norton taken straight from the text.
On another note, there is a recurring theme of seven. Seven years in prison, sentenced seven months earlier. He has also been with his girlfriend, Naturelle, for seven years. The author doesn't always note the seven but if you do the math based on the ages etc, there it is. A purgatory reference?
"What Slattery wants is a ring painted on concrete in the empty desert. With no living spectator around for miles, just him and the grinning demons. A chance to fight them each, one by one - the bouncer, the mad-eyed man, all of them - to leave them broken and humbled, or even to lose the fights, but with nobility, and earn the respect of all of the men who have showed him none. I want peace, he thinks to himself late at night. I want peace. But then he dreams of fistfights." -p. 19
"He feels fingernails following the curves of his ribs and some part of him knows the name that goes with these fingernails; another part of him knows this is what he wants - these nails, this warm body. The name and the want never collide but skitter around the edges of his mind like repellent electrons." -p. 150
couldn't seem to get into this book enough to finish it, and I did the rare putting it down halfway. smooth writing and imagery though. I couldn't getcouldn't seem to get into this book enough to finish it, and I did the rare putting it down halfway. smooth writing and imagery though. I couldn't get the pictures of the uniquely blown glass or the smoke rising into the night sky out of my head. I guess that's enough to get out of it....more
A young gay man and his friends try to make a statement about gender constructs and sexuality, only to find they don't really have a clue what they beA young gay man and his friends try to make a statement about gender constructs and sexuality, only to find they don't really have a clue what they believe or why they believe it, either.
I liked the differentiation between tolerance and understanding, and the way almost none of his feelings had to make sense.
Offensive? Definitely. This book was a distasteful trainwreck, but I was glued to it from page 1.