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The Wishbones

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  2,641 ratings  ·  200 reviews
Everything is going pretty well for Dave Raymond. He's 31, but he still feels young. He's playing guitar with the Wishbones, a New Jersey wedding band, and while it isn't exactly the Big Time, it is music. He has a roof over his head...well, it's his parents' roof, but they don't hassle him much. Life isn't perfect, but it isn't bad. Not bad at all. But then he has to blow ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by Berkley (first published May 5th 1997)
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Average rating 3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,641 ratings  ·  200 reviews

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Nov 09, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think I've had enough of hanging out with the guys, for awhile. Is there a name for this genre? It seems as if every third book I've read lately is told by some oblivious guy in the midst of wedding preparations who is challenged by the concepts of self control, responsibility and basic budgeting and planning. I was enjoying this book until it delved deeper into Dave's intimate relationships and his deliberate choice to leave every conflict unaddressed. I feel like I transferred on to the wron ...more
Mitch Albom
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When you read Tom Perrotta's later work, this seems almost childish in subject matter. But his early novel about a wedding singer still living with his parents speaks to the love of music that freezes you in your development. Duke Ellington once said, 'Music is my mistress, and she's a jealous lover.' Perrotta's protagonist, Dave Raymond, is less elegant about it but just as torn. ...more
Steve Tannuzzo
Giving this book three stars is probably too generous, but I've been reading Tom Perrotta's stuff since the '90s and I'm a fan. (Please don't say, "That said..."). That said, the story here is, you know, nice. It's very familiar. No thinking is required. It's been done to death: a 31-year-old musician in a wedding band is still living with his parents and needs to figure out his life. Yawn! I'm a 52-year-old reader who needs to figure out how to stop picking up books with a coming-of-middle-age ...more
Aug 30, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm a fan of Tom Perotta. I especially admire his ability to get ahead of social trends in his books. He seems to sense the "next big thing" and he's there, several steps ahead.
In this amusing but not overly demanding novel, Perotta gives us the archetypal character of Dave, a boy-man of 31 still struggling to grow up. Since this book came out in 1997, that character has become the stock-in-trade of Judd Apatow and his ilk. But Perotta was there first.
Dave is a rock star-wannabe who plays in a w
David Murgo
May 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I just read this again (probably the fourth time) and it remains, along with "High Fidelity" one of the best books about guys and how we relate to the music in our lives. The conversations between friends ring true throughout the book and I couldn't recommend this book more highly. There are more than a few passages that are laugh out loud funny and admittedly, one or two that got the tears flowing. I've recommended this book countless times to friends and do so again, here. Tom Perrotta gets it ...more
May 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Allan Hough
Aug 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book sucks. It's just good enough to keep you reading through to the end just to see what happens, but in my book, a book like that is worse than a fully bad book. At least with a fully bad book you can just put it down right away and forget about it.

(Incidentally, this is just my exact review of Tom Perrotta's _Joe College_, cut and pasted. Fuck that guy.)
.・゜゜・ mikky .・゜゜・
This book was.... something else entirely. Look the idea was fantastic and the writing skills were not the best but still good but there was just not that spark of romance I was told about. I was most certainly not happy about some of the decisions Dave made but at least in the end he made the right choice. That’s all I’m going to say really. Not impressed.
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
I was let down by this one. I thought it would be more of a send up of band culture and less of what it was.
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
I think Perrotta phoned this one in
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book may be perfect. Seventeen stars for a quiet, funny, surprising story.
Ugh hated this book. Thank goodness it was short. It was boring, there was no story, and I didn't like it at all. All of the characters were shitty people doing shitty things and I didn't see the point.

Read during Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon - July.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Re read this one to kick off my 2019 book challenge. Unfortunately, it did not age well. I remember loving Tom Perrotta's novels when I read them a decade ago. However, these days, books like The Wishbones and even Nick Hornby's High Fidelity (which I re-re-read last year) and their whiny male protagonists who refuse to grow up just irritate me. Maybe this finally means I've grown up :) and don't put those so called "bad boys" on a pedestal anymore. Amen. ...more
Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary-novels
So, I started a pretty thorough review of this book, but lost it to the ghosts of the internet. So, I'll do a briefer version. I just don't have the energy to bitch and moan about books any more.

Despite the wicked words I'm going to use, I actually enjoyed Perrotta's book. It was a fun, trashy, smooth read, and I'd read it again, if I hadn't read it already. Got it?

So, The Wishbones reminds me a bit of a poor man's Nick Hornby novel air dropped in New Jersey. It's so 90s-centric and dated, so fu
Feb 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
God bless the cover. I usually have about 90 seconds at the library to find a read while the kids wreak unseen havoc on the children's section. The fiction shelves at McKinley though, are between the door and the play area and the resulting confidence that no one could abduct my brood without me at least being able to heave a hardcover classic at him allowed me to look for an added minute. I often look for contemporary books, and restrict my search to something with the size of a first edition h ...more
Abigail Hillinger
Apr 18, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Wannabe Rock Stars
Shelves: fiction
Another good read by Tom Perrotta. And another man cheats on his significant other. Seriously, it makes me as a reader wonder why infidelity is consistent theme in Perrotta's books, and how comfortable his wife is with it.

The Wishbones are a wedding band. Don't think 'Wedding Singer' here, ala Adam Sandler. Think of what would happen if Rob, Barry, and Dick from Hornby's High Fidelity made a band. Dysfunction and mayhem, right? Of course. Because dysfunction and mayhem is what Perrotta does best
Jan 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
I'm in a band and this is a pretty good description of life in a band. The Wishbones are a wedding band fracturing on the shoals of alcoholism, marriage, infidelity and misguided ambition (bandleader Artie wants to give up weddings to start a Christian rock outfit). The setting is New Jersey reception halls and split levels. Les Paul-toting main character Dave Raymond is caught between his fiance, girlfriend and dreams he could have made it with a punk rock outfit that inspired bathroom graffitt ...more
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised that there's a poetry reading in this book!

OK, I finished it, and I loved learning more about how men think, and how men who are sort of adult boys think. There was a lot of tenderness here, and hilarity, too. I cared about everybody and marveled at the good behavior that always went hand in hand with the bad behavior.

Perrotta has a fine, spare prose style. He has observed people closely and rendered them specifically. There's wild humor and deadpan humor, throwaway lines, suspen
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
After LOVING The Abstinence Teacher and Little Children, I started reading all the Perrotta books I could. But it turns out his early work is not nearly as good. I couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters in this one; they were all just sort of jerks. ...more
Sep 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Like High Fidelity meets The Wedding Singer, in a good way. This is early Perrotta - very early - and you can tell he's still working out the kinks in his writing. There's a clumsy plot device or two, some clunky dialogue, and things wrap up just a little too neatly for my taste. But its gentle riffs on life, love, and human nature are effortlessly engaging. ...more
Jul 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Some parts made me laugh out loud. The author really has a way with dialogue.
If you can get past the fact that Dave is a duplicitous, cowardly man-child, you'll enjoy the story. Too afraid to go after his life, he settles. In all aspects of his life.
Poor Julie - is there anything worse than being the one he settled for?
Darlene Rae
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
This is one of Tom's earlier books, and as I predicted, not quite as good as Little Children and The Abstinence Teacher, which I loved. All of his books could be movies though. Good stuff. ...more
Matt Ogborn
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
I like some of Tom Perrotta's books a whole lot, but this one isn't quite there. I just can't stomach books about reluctant man-children anymore. Whatever, dude. Anyway, it's his first book, so things got a lot better after this. ...more
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have to admit, I was kind of pissed with Dave. I wanted Julie to find out and dump his ass. Then I thought, OK he wasn't happy, maybe this will make him happy. But at least man up and tell Julie the truth. In the end, I was still disgusted. But good story. ...more
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that I was reading a new version of The Wedding Singer. It was okay, but I wouldn't go out of my way to read this one. ...more
Sarah Chassé
Mar 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
This is basically the same story as High Fidelity, except High Fidelity does it better.
Mary Beth
Jul 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
It seems that we all have to settle down and become adults at some point. It just doesn't have to be as depressing as we think. ...more
Cait Poytress
Not bad, not good, just kind of... eh. 2.5 stars
Mar 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book was the poor man's High Fidelity. ...more
Mar 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
Didn't finish the book as it was so slow and pretty boring. ...more
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Tom Perrotta is the bestselling author of nine works of fiction, including Election and Little Children, both of which were made into Oscar-nominated films, and The Leftovers, which was adapted into a critically acclaimed, Peabody Award-winning HBO series. His work has been translated into a multitude of languages. Perrotta grew up in New Jersey and lives outside of Boston. ...more

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