Jake's Reviews > The Book of Joe

The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper
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Sep 22, 09

Read in September, 2009

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 antagonist grows up to be the po-leece.
Former antagonist turns out to be 'not that bad'.
The gay character has AIDS, and just don't take no crap no more!

I'm sure there's more, but frankly, I couldn't get past 100 pages. If you're gonna have an unoriginal idea (and really, most are at this point), you have to make it your own. Tropper tried early, but fell way short.

He could have pulled it off with a little more edge, a little straight-up 'fuck you' from the main character. Instead, the guy just comes off as whiny and annoying. With a little bit of the Bateman brothers injected into Joe, this could have been quite readable.

Instead, it made me throw up into my own eyes.
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