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Wonder Boys

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  29,656 Ratings  ·  1,708 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.
Published November 1st 2000 by Dtv (first published March 14th 1995)
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Jonathan Kramer 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…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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Sep 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Shelves: audio-books
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
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.
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
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
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2009
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
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
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.
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
Raymond Rose
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s funny when I think about how much it took for me to read this book. I was basically prodded and yelled at and asked repeatedly to read this book for the better part of a year before I did. A friend of mine was like, “You’re a writer! It’s about writers! You have to read it!” Eventually, I broke down and did. And man, were they right!

I read the book right on the heels of Richard Russo’s Straight Man (which, interestingly enough, the two books make wonderful book ends to each other and should
Bruce Roderick
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Each of the several times I've gone back to re-read Wonder Boys I've taken something different from it. While I still remain in awe of Chabon's magnificent prose and expansive vocabulary its still the protagonist that keeps me coming back for more.

Having studied English Literature and taken writing courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and now teaching these at university level, I confess I have a biased connection and perspective to this novel. While every character is masterfu
Shawn Mooney
Feb 21, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful writing: not at all my kind of story. Bailed a third of the way in.
Grady Tripp is a writer of a few novels; following the success of his award winning novel The Land Downstairs he has set out to write his follow up. Seven years later his manuscript for Wonder Boys was over 2600 pages long and nowhere closer to being finished. In his personal life things were messed up, his wife has walked out on him, and his mistress Sara has revealed she was pregnant. Wonder Boys (1995) is Michael Chabon’s second novel following the success of his debut book The Mysteries of P ...more
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, review, 4-stars, 2016
I might call this delightful. A cast of literary personages wreaking havoc upon their own lives and everyone else they have contact with. It's amusing, engaging and well written. A tiny bit over the top with a couple of scenes, almost farcical, but Chabon held it together. James Leer is one of the best written characters I've read, awkward and shy to a fault, young and innocent, talented and inspired, fiercely struggling psychologically, but still dependent like a boy, all sketched very simply a ...more
Marcello S
Uno studente problematico ma geniale, un editor sull’orlo, una studentessa molto figa che non ha nessun ruolo, un professore/scrittore che a 40 anni ha più divorzi alle spalle che libri pubblicati.
Animali morti nel baule di un’auto. Cimeli di Marilyn Monroe e Joe di Maggio. Frank Capra.

Fino a qui tutto bene. Tutto profondamente americano. Qualcosa del primo Roth.

Cose che non vanno: troppe situazioni surreali o poco verosimili.
Il finale che vorrebbe essere struggente ma non ci riesce.
Ilze Folkmane
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Something kind of pretty and perverted at the same time”

There is something that can be said about authors describing their work within said work, the above sentence being an example of such a phenomenon. And, God, is Wonder Boys something kind of pretty and perverted. I expected it to be more about writers and writing, so for me there was a slight hue of disappointment in this area, since I think I expected the balance between metaphor and actual life to be slightly different. But apart from th
Feb 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-read
I really wanted to dislike Wonder Boys. I even tried to dislike it. I mean, here it was a book about writers (barf) by Michael Chabon (barf) who kind of gives me the willies (I think it’s the hair). Despite all that, Wonder Boys still crawled into my heart.

So we’ve got pot-smoking, wife-cheating, never-ending-novel writing Grady Tripp and the weekend from hell. His editor comes into town for writerpalooza or something and brings along a drag queen. Grady’s wife has also chosen that day to leave
I decided that I wasn't liking this book to the point that I checked with the goodread reviews to see if it would get any better. Many of the one to two star reviews supported my suspicion that it wouldn't.

I absolutely hate books that go into, what the author thinks, are clever descriptions such as "the carpet of the lounge was a baby aspirin colour." I don't mind one or two of these but page after page of it repulses me to no end. I also hate when they use brand names over and over in the descr
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: #16 Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon 1 3 Jan 30, 2016 03:35PM  
New Book with Careless Protagonist 1 13 Nov 17, 2014 11:37AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover? 9 28 Aug 22, 2013 03:02AM  
The Bookworms of RVA: Meeting April 7 Sunday 6pm: Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon 1 11 Mar 22, 2013 10:26AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Wonder Boys - wrong isbn? reused isbn? 3 37 Apr 28, 2012 04:08PM  
one of my favorite books and movies!!!! 1 67 Jun 23, 2007 01:59PM  
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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 mad ...more
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“There's nothing more embarrassing than to have earned the disfavor of a perceptive animal.” 1015 likes
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