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Wonder Boys

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  33,535 ratings  ·  1,977 reviews
In his first novel since The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Chabon presents a hilarious and heartbreaking work—the story of the friendship between the "wonder boys"—Grady, an aging writer who has lost his way, and Crabtree, whose relentless debauchery is capsizing his career. ...more
383 pages
Published 1998 by Dt. Taschenbuch-Verl. (first published March 14th 1995)
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Jonathan K I loved this story and the book is far better than the adaptation with Michael Douglas.. What I'm having trouble with is finding anything that bears r…moreI loved this story and the book is far better than the adaptation with Michael Douglas.. What I'm having trouble with is finding anything that bears resemblance to it whether narrative or otherwise. Great read! (less)

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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  33,535 ratings  ·  1,977 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
”I had lost everything: novel, publisher, wife, lover; the admiration of my best student; all of the fruit of the last decade of my life. I had no family, no friends, no car, and probably, after this weekend, no job. I sat back in my chair, and as I did so I heard the unmistakable crinkle of a plastic bag. I reached into my torn hip pocket of my jacket and passed my hand through the hole, into the lining, where I found my little piece of Humboldt County, warm from the heat of my body.”

At the ver
Sep 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Second only to Catcher in the Rye in my all-time favorite list of books. If you are a writer, if you've taken a creative writing class, if you've verged on totally and completely fucking up your life with sweet redemption held just at your fingertips, but which you chose to thumb your nose at for just a teensy bit longer....god, read this book. If you love prose, good prose, jubillant, wild, ecstatic indulgent prose, read Chabon. I just want to roll around in his words and bathe in it like a bub ...more
What the heck have I been doing with my life! Wonder Boys has been one of my favorite movies of all time because it hits all the wonderful buttons of writing and reading and being deliciously messed up and being so HUMAN.

And then somewhere along the line I read The Yiddish Policemen's Union and I still didn't make the connection.

So when I DID finally make the connection that one of favorite movies was really based on a book by an author I already described to myself as "wonderfully inventive and
Dusty Myers
Sep 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
For a straight man, Chabon is very gay friendly. I know there's been stuff written, possibly by Chabon himself, about early gay liaisons he undertook, but now the man's married with three, four kids. And yet Chabon's smart enough to write this:

"[James] looked over at Crabtree with a smile that was crooked and half grateful. He didn't seem particularly distressed or bewildered, I thought, on awakening to his first morning as a lover of men. While he worked his way up the buttons of my old flannel
Jan 06, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cynics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the surface, Grady Tripp is probably one of the most loathsome individuals I have ever read about in literature—he’s spent seven years on a 2,611 page monstrosity that has gone absolutely nowhere and like his life meandered everywhere, he’s come to the dissolution of his third marriage, he’s carried on an affair for about five years with the married chancellor who is now carrying his child, he’s smoked an entire football field of weed, and yet he can’t seem to cut himself off, and he harbors ...more
Jul 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is the second book I've read recently that involved the main character being an adulterer, impregnating someone other than his wife, and generally being such a screw-up that they wreck the life of anyone who depends on them. But while I hated Rabbit from Rabbit, Run to the point of wishing he was real so I could find him and pummel him with a baseball bat, I actually LIKED Grady Tripp and rooted for him to put down the joint and get his act together.

I'd read Chabon's The Amazing Adventures
Apr 27, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned-dnf
1 star - I really hated it.

Somewhere around the part where the main character requested a pen to draw faces on his "wiener" (the author's fancy word choice, not mine) as he "pissed" behind a tree, I came to the realization that the remaining 179 pages were probably going to be just as unsatisfactory as the first 209 had been. Immediately after deciding to officially DNF this one, I smiled for the first time since I had chosen to pick it up. For a book that screams, "Look at me! I'm funny. I'm so
Edward Lorn
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been quite some time since I last laughed out loud while reading/listening to a book. Several scenes in this novel caught me just right, mainly, I feel, because Chabon and I share a certain man-child sense of humor. If you identify as a man-child, maybe pick up this book and give it a read. It's surprisingly short for being so long, which is to say, it's extremely well written, to the point that the words disappear and you're left with a movie playing out on the walls of your mind.

The audi
Dnf 50%

This is just well written swill. I can't take any more of Grady. I just can't. The main character in this book honestly doesn't deserve that kind of writing.
Joy D
A writer/professor, Grady Tripp, has been in the process of writing his fourth novel for seven years, with no end in sight, though he tells anyone that asks he is “almost finished.” At Tripp’s invitation, his friend and editor, Terry Crabtree, shows up to attend the college’s annual writer’s conference. Crabtree hopes to obtain the long-awaited novel from Tripp, as he needs it to save his job. Tripp’s personal life is in turmoil due to his adultery. He is using so much marijuana that it is affec ...more
Aaron Mcquiston
If we were to categorize books that have literary merit but are depressingly non-enjoyable in a human sense, "Wonder Boys" would be a front runner. Michael Chabon can write. I give him that. Michael Chabon also writes the worst books I've ever read. Here you have a story about a writer (that's a tough plot to start with) that is not in touch with reality (the character is even harder to write) whom screws everything up because it is much easier to do the wrong thing than to be right all the time ...more
Mattia Ravasi
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Video review

For writers, and people who always suspected life was kind of a Lovecraft ripoff.
May 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the hydra
Shelves: to-re-read
chabon's adaptation of the famous tenacious d song. ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of John Irving, people who liked the movie
Michael Chabon!! Where have you been all my life? What a great book! I loved the film version, but the book is even better. I must admit, it was impossible not to picture Michael Douglas and Toby Maguire as I read, but that's not a bad thing. I love the character Grady Tripp. He's just the type of guy I would have fallen for in my youth: ridiculously intelligent, creative, professorial, and hopelessly, tragically flawed. "As long as she was falling in love with me, I might as well start making h ...more
Feb 26, 2007 rated it liked it
He tried far too hard to be eclectic, over the top, and kitschy. The entire novel came off as insincere. The only likable characters, in my opinion, were Hannah and Sara, because they were the only ones with any kind of grip on the real world. Grady was a slacker and an asshole, Crabtree was a disturbing, self-absorbed douchebag, and James was just pathetic in every way. Actually, I take that back. Emily's parents, the Warshaws, are entirely likable. How can you not love old Jewish parents?

The e
Nick Younker
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite novels of all time. Although I didn't particularly like one section that dragged ass with his estranged wife's family, this book has major page turning power and it kept me engaged all the way through. Chabon has talent, and the world should know it. ...more
Paul Lockman
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-favourites
Loved it. A real hoot. 5 stars. Straight to my 2019 favourites shelf and will probably add it to my all-time favourites too. I have a vague recollection of reading a few pages of Moonglow by this author and not being particularly motivated to continue reading it, so I was a little apprehensive when recently given Wonder Boys as a present. It was therefore an unexpected delight how much I enjoyed this book.

Chabon tells us the story of Professor Grady Tripp, a pot head trying so hard to get his no
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A funny morbid tale that includes a dead dog, a smashed snake and a tuba.
You can tell that it is an early work of Chabon but you still enjoy the ride.
Jul 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after I saw the movie, so I am judging it a bit backwards. I read with a vision in my head of the way the characters were portrayed in the film, and tried to envision them the way Michael Chabon wrote them. For example, in the book, Grady Tripp is a large, imposing man, and his friend and editor, Terry Crabtree, is the same age as he is, and they have been friends since college. Of course, in the film, the slender Michael Douglas plays Grady, and Robert Downey, Jr. plays Crabtre ...more
Stef Smulders
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I was not expecting to ever quit a book by Chabon but this one turned out not to be to my taste. Characters not knowing where to go and what to do, a story that has no direction either. And all the detailed descriptions (do I really need to know the way even the minor characters are dressed, what they look like, how they smell?) slow down the pace even more. I could appreciate the humor and most of the writing, although even here the author is exaggerating in all his metaphores, many of which ar ...more
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
A strong, early Chabon. It has all the things that I love about Michael Chabon: the quirky characters, the beautiful filigreed prose, the androgenous and ambiguous lovers. But, it also contains more warmth and crazy energy than some of his later books. And I appreciate that. I appreciate the feeling that this book ran past Chabon's careful editing. Its kinetic narrative isn't about to be slowed by careful massaging. To Hell with all that. In someways it feels a bit like the Pastoral Wanderings o ...more
Jul 14, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to John by: no one
Trifling. After I put this down that's the only thing I could think of that would accurately convey what I was feeling after burning precious brain cells and wasting God-given minutes I'll never get back. But maybe I was wrong? After all when Chabon first appeared on the scene along with Ethan Canin, they were the "boy wonders" of literature - talented, handsome, smart, with big book deals to boot. They'd set the publishing world on fire; who was I to try and put out the flame?

So, one day I was
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a book about writers
Shelves: fiction
Even chaos can become predictable. Marijuana, alcohol, three marriages, an ongoing infidelity with his department head's wife, a peripatetic silver-tongued agent who pops drugs like tic-tacs, and a seven year publishing dry spell have been shepherding the hapless main character, author Grady Tripp, to the fateful weekend chronicled in this novel. It's a weekend that will arouse atomized glimpses of self-awareness in Tripp.

Chabon has stashed a cache of writerly tics in his character. Grady's maid
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read, much to think about, in terms of the creative process, life, marriage, academia, addiction, youth, aging,'s also a tour de force of tiny bursts of comic commentary. Some sentences just ripple with arch satire, sarcasm, and deft instantaneous comic portrayals of characters and situations, where truth is hilarious and hilarity rings true.
I saw the movie first, loved it, and hesitated for a long time to read the book, thinking either that there would be nothing to add, or t
Unfortunately, there's a long history of books set in academia where the protagonist a.) is a professor, b.) is an alcoholic or substance abuser, c.) is having trouble getting it up (it = his writing muse), and d.) is tempted by or tempting to the tender vittles we know and love as co-eds. Given how cliche all of this is, you would think that authors would consider this formula strictly where angels fear to tread, but no.

Welcome to WONDER BOYS, Michael Chabon's novel about a washed-up writer sla
I liked it. I didn't love it...unlike many of my friends. oh well. and although i could say i "really liked" parts of it, i did not "really like" all of it. i scribbled down some notes, so hopefully i'll be back shortly, maybe even tomorrow, to clarify what i did and what i did not like (so much). This was my first Chabon novel that i completed. I started one once but got distracted (oops), but do intend to read his others. Even (perhaps especially) the one that got accidentally left behind. ...more
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
I remember being surprised at how much I liked this book that seemed so silly and focused on characters about whom I cared so little, especially the main character, Grady Tripp, who is a real jerk. But Chabon is talented and the book has real charm. The movie, while good, doesn't quite do it justice. ...more
Jul 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fact is I would not have chosen this book had it not fulfilled a square in my 2020 reading BINGO challenge. A writer writing about writers behaving badly feels a little too self-serving and I felt too much Salinger and Hemingway for my taste, but Chabon is such a gifted writer that his language sustained me despite my distaste for his characters and plot. That’s a minor literary miracle in my view.
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, fiction
What does a boa constrictor, a tuba, a transvestite, Marilyn Monroe's jacket, a man called Crabtree, a lot of pot, a car with buttprints and a blind dog have in common? They all crosses Grady Tripp's path in the course of two days where Tripp's wife finds out that he has a mistress and that she is pregnant...
So this is no ordinary weekend and Tripp finds himself in one awkward situation after the others. Towards the end, you as the reader finds yourself thinking "figures!" every time something n
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Michael Chabon (b. 1963) is an acclaimed and bestselling author whose works include the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000). Chabon achieved literary fame at age twenty-four with his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988), which was a major critical and commercial success. He then published Wonder Boys (1995), another bestseller, which was made in ...more

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