Scott's Reviews > The Great Perhaps

The Great Perhaps by Joe Meno
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Jul 08, 09

bookshelves: adult-books, first-half-of-2009, summer-reading-2009, older-teens, strange
Read in July, 2009

I imagine those people who don't like this book, or maybe don't like Joe Meno, aren't fans of Wes Anderson either. I suppose that isn't exactly fair to Meno. He doesn't dance around in a quirky but very real alternate reality. His characters are kind of quirky, one is afraid of clouds; one is trying to erase himself by speaking one fewer word a day. But he doesn't use his quirky characters for a mad-cap, laugh-a-minute riot. His quirks instead somehow heighten the flaws and the sadness in them. One of the daughters, Amelia, in the book is so assured that capitalism is bad that she builds a pipe bomb and contemplates blowing up her school's newspaper office, she also searches for approval from an older college professor. But the other daughter is on an infinite quest for God, some may find her prayers absurd, which they are, and hilarious, but they also show a confused teenager who is looking for something, even something her parents don't believe exists.
The real story is of a family being pulled apart by the parents' separation and literally collapsing on itself. Among the best, funniest and most poignant of parts, is when the father, Jonathan Casper, offers his daughter a microwave mac & cheese and she refuses his weak effort to keep the family together. Maybe if they would all just try harder. But their journeys are cathartic and necessary.

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message 1: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Thanks for reviewing...I didn't even know this one was out yet. I love Joe Meno----as a YA person you'd probably love Hairstyles of the Damned, if you haven't read it already. His book of short stories that came out last year are fun as well.


Scott Matthew wrote: "Thanks for reviewing...I didn't even know this one was out yet. I love Joe Meno----as a YA person you'd probably love Hairstyles of the Damned, if you haven't read it already. His book of short s..."

I got to meet him in Chicago. It was awesome!


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